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Energies 2019, 12(8), 1452;

Experimental Investigation of a Small-Scale ORC Power Plant Using a Positive Displacement Expander with and without a Regenerator

School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The original paper was presented in: Collings, P.; Yu, Z.; Mckeown, A. “Experimental Analysis of a Regenerative Organic Rankine Cycle using Zeotropic Working Fluid Blends.” Riehl, R., Preißinger, M., Eames, I., Tierney, M., Eds. In Proceedings of the Heat Powered Cycles Conference 2018, Bayreuth, Germany, 16–19 September 2018. ISBN: 978-0-9563329-6-7.
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 14 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from Heat Power Cycles Conference 2018)
PDF [487 KB, uploaded 16 April 2019]


While large-scale ORC power plants are a relatively mature technology, their application to small-scale power plants (i.e., below 10 kW) still encounters some technical challenges. Positive displacement expanders are mostly used for such small-scale applications. However, their built-in expansion ratios are often smaller than the expansion ratio required for the maximum utilisation of heat sources, leading to under expansion and consequently higher enthalpy at the outlet of the expander, and ultimately resulting in a lower thermal efficiency. In order to overcome this issue, one possible solution is to introduce an internal heat exchanger (i.e., the so-called regenerator) to recover the enthalpy exiting the expander and use it to pre-heat the liquid working fluid before it enters the evaporator. In this paper, a small-scale experimental rig (with 1-kW rated power) was designed and built that is capable of switching between regenerative and non-regenerative modes, using R245fa as the working fluid. It has been tested under various operating conditions, and the results reveal that the regenerative heat exchanger can recover a considerable amount of heat when under expansion occurs, increasing the cycle efficiency.
Keywords: organic Rankine cycle; regenerative cycle; positive displacement expander organic Rankine cycle; regenerative cycle; positive displacement expander
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Collings, P.; Mckeown, A.; Wang, E.; Yu, Z. Experimental Investigation of a Small-Scale ORC Power Plant Using a Positive Displacement Expander with and without a Regenerator. Energies 2019, 12, 1452.

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