Small-scale organic Rankine cycle (ORC) systems driven by solar energy are compared in this paper, which aims to explore the potential of power generation for domestic utilisation. A solar thermal collector was used as the heat source for a hot water storage tank. Thermal performance was then evaluated in terms of both the conventional ORC and an ORC using thermal driven pump (TDP). It is established that the solar ORC using TDP has a superior performance to the conventional ORC under most working conditions. Results demonstrate that power output of the ORC using TDP ranges from 72 W to 82 W with the increase of evaporating temperature, which shows an improvement of up to 3.3% at a 100 °C evaporating temperature when compared with the power output of the conventional ORC. Energy and exergy efficiencies of the ORC using TDP increase from 11.3% to 12.6% and from 45.8% to 51.3% when the evaporating temperature increases from 75 °C to 100 °C. The efficiency of the ORC using TDP is improved by up to 3.27%. Additionally, the exergy destruction using TDP can be reduced in the evaporator and condenser. The highest exergy efficiency in the evaporator is 96.9%, an improvement of 62% in comparison with that of the conventional ORC, i.e., 59.9%. Thus, the small-scale solar ORC system using TDP is more promising for household application.
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