We present a thermo-economic analysis of an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) for waste heat recovery. A case study for a heat source temperature of 150 °C and a subcritical, saturated cycle is performed. As working fluids R245fa, isobutane, isopentane, and the mixture of isobutane and isopentane are considered. The minimal temperature difference in the evaporator and the condenser, as well as the mixture composition are chosen as variables in order to identify the most suitable working fluid in combination with optimal process parameters under thermo-economic criteria. In general, the results show that cost-effective systems have a high minimal temperature difference ΔTPP,C
at the pinch-point of the condenser and a low minimal temperature difference ΔTPP,E
at the pinch-point of the evaporator. Choosing isobutane as the working fluid leads to the lowest costs per unit exergy with 52.0 €/GJ (ΔTPP,E
= 1.2 K; ΔTPP,C
= 14 K). Considering the major components of the ORC, specific costs range between 1150 €/kW and 2250 €/kW. For the zeotropic mixture, a mole fraction of 90% isobutane leads to the lowest specific costs per unit exergy. A further analysis of the ORC system using isobutane shows high sensitivity of the costs per unit exergy for the selected cost estimation methods and for the isentropic efficiency of the turbine.
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