The concept of the Misselhorn cycle is introduced as a power cycle that aims for efficient waste heat recovery of temperature sources below 100 °C. The basic idea shows advantages over a standard Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) in overall efficiency and utilization of the heat source. The main characteristic of this cycle is the use of at least three parallel batch evaporators instead of continuous heat exchangers. The operational phases of the evaporators are shifted so that there is always one vaporizer in discharge mode. A transient MATLAB®
model (The MathWorks: Natick, MA, USA) is used to simulate the achievable performance of the Misselhorn cycle. The calculations of the thermodynamic states of the system are based on the heat flux, the equations for energy conservation and the equations of state found in the NIST Standard Reference Database 23 (Reference Fluid Thermodynamic and Transport Properties - REFPROP, National Institute of Standards and Technology: Gaithersburg, MD, USA). In the isochoric batch evaporation, the pressure and the corresponding boiling temperature rise over time. With a gradually increasing boiling temperature, no pinch point limitation occurs. Furthermore, the heat source medium is passed through the evaporators in serial order to obtain a quasi-counter flow setup. It could be shown that these features offer the possibility to gain both high thermal efficiencies and an enhanced utilization of the heat source at the same time. A basic model with a fixed estimated heat transfer coefficient promises a possible system exergy efficiency of 44.4%, which is an increase of over 60% compared to a basic ORC with a system exergy efficiency of only 26.8%.
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