The organic Rankine cycle (ORC) is widely used to recover industrial waste heat. For an ORC system using industrial waste hot water as a heat source, a novel hot water split-flow dual-pressure organic Rankine cycle (SFD-ORC) system is developed to improve the performance of the ORC. The maximum net power output was selected to compare three ORC systems, including basic ORC (B-ORC), conventional dual-pressure ORC (CD-ORC) and SFD-ORC. A genetic algorithm (GA) was used to optimize the parameters to search the maximum net power output of ORCs. The maximum net output power was taken as the standard of performance evaluation. The results show that, under the same hot water inlet temperature condition, the optimal hot water outlet temperature of B-ORC is much higher than that of CD-ORC and SFD-ORC, which indicates that less thermal energy could be utilized to convert to power in B-ORC. The optimal hot water temperature at the outlet of evaporator 1 in SFD-ORC is higher than that in CD-ORC, which means SFD-ORC could make more efficient use of the high-grade thermal energy of hot water. The SFD-ORC could obtain the highest net output power under the optimal parameter conditions, followed by the CD-ORC system, while the B-ORC has the lowest net output power. Moreover, with the increase in the hot water inlet temperature, the advantage of SFD-ORC becomes increasingly obvious. When the hot water inlet temperature is 90 °C, the net output power of SFD-ORC at is 6.22% higher than that of CD-ORC. The net output power of SFD-ORC at 130 °C increases to 9.7% higher than that of CD-ORC. The SFD-ORC presents better system performance and has great engineering application potential.
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