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Experimental investigation of a cascaded organic Rankine cycle plant for the utilization of waste heat at high and low temperature levels

Linnemann, Matthias; Priebe, Klaus-Peter; Heim, André; Wolff, Carsten; Vrabec, Jadran

A power plant with two cascaded organic Rankine cycles (CORC) to exploit waste heat from a 800 kWe combined heat and power plant, fueled by biogas, is designed and tested. Heat from the exhaust gas is utilized with a high temperature organic Rankine cycle (HT-ORC), where toluene is employed as a working fluid. The heat discharged from the HT-ORC as well as heat from the engine coolant and additional heat from the exhaust gas is supplied to a low temperature ORC (LT-ORC) with the working fluid Solkatherm SES36. The design of the CORC and the selection of working fluids is presented, aiming at a maximum plant efficiency, but also complying with environmental, safety and practical issues. Furthermore, plant components and construction details are described. After manufacturing, initial tests are carried out, obtaining thermodynamic conditions that are close to the design of the HT-ORC, where a maximum electrical turbo-generator output of 17.5 kW is measured. The cascading of the low temperature heat sources and the transfer to the LT-ORC is shown as well as the basic operation of the LT-ORC. However, several problems occurred, such as a turbo-generator damage in the HT-ORC, a too high condensation pressure and a low working fluid mass flow rate in the LT-ORC, which are discussed together with proposed optimization measures.
Published in: Energy Conversion and Management, 10.1016/j.enconman.2019.112381, Elsevier