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Proceedings of the ASME 2016 10th International Conference on Energy Sustainability

June 26-30, 2016, Charlotte, North Carolina



Vaclav Novotny Michal Kolovratnik Jana P. Jakobsen

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Monika Vitvarova Sintef ER
CTU in Prague Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Kolbjorn Hejes vei 1 A, Trondheim, 7465
Department of Energy Engineering CTU in Prague Norway
Technicka 4, Prague 6, 16607 Department of Energy Engineering
Czech Republic Technicka 4, Prague 6, 16607
Phone: +420 224 35 2541 Czech Republic

ABSTRACT single components of the cycle. Results of sizing are presented

Absorption Power Cycles (APCs) provide an interesting field on two examples with 100 C heat source. First one is 20 kWe
within power cycles. The multicomponent mixture with variable unit using hot air as a heat source and air cooled condenser,
temperature across boiling is employed as a working fluid. This second one is 500 kWe unit with heat source being pressurized
has a potential for decreasing exergy loss associated with heat water and using wet cooling tower heat rejection. Results show
transfer during phase change processes (boiling and condensa- possibility of building relatively efficient system for even small
tion). Absorption process has also an effect of lowering exhaust power output with turbine isentropic efficiency nearly 80 % for
pressure of a turbine. The APCs hold a potential for heat recov- the 20 kWe unit, but relatively large heat exchangers.
ery applications at very low temperatures, where constant tem-
perature of boiling and condensation largely limits performance
and economic effectiveness of Organic Rankine cycles (ORCs).
Absorption Power Cycle, Waste Heat Recovery, Low Tem-
Theoretical calculations show superiority of APC over extensive
perature Heat, System Design, Modeling
range of considered ORC working fluid. The advantage of APC
further increases when air cooled condenser needs to be used
instead of wet cooling tower. With the same boundary condi-
tions for all cycles the APC provides higher utilization efficiency NOMENCLATURE
and power output at source temperatures below approximately Symbols and abbreviations
120 C, for temperatures as low as 60 C the net power output A Area [m2 ]
can be surpassed even more than three times. ACC Air cooled condenser
The proposed APC employs aqueous solution of salts con- APC Absorption power cycle
sidered generally for absorption cooling (Lithium Bromide, c Absolute velocity vector of steam in turbine [m/s]
Lithium Chloride, Calcium Chloride) as a working fluid. Un- CaCl2 Calcium Chloride
like ammonia used in mixture with water in Kalina APC or often cp Heat capacity at constant pressure [kJ/kg K]
ORC working fluids, used salts are non-toxic, environmentally Cs, f Empirical surface-fluid interaction coefficient
friendly and pure water in expander simplifies its design. After CT Cooling tower
summary of theoretical research from thermodynamics point of D Diameter [m]
view are discussed principles, aspects and issues for design of Fr Froude number

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Gs, f Empirical surface-fluid interaction coefficient h Hydraulic (diameter)
h Enthalpy [kJ/kg] hs Heat source
hfg Enthalpy of vaporization [kJ/kg] is Isentropic
Heq Equivalent pumping head [m] liq Liquid
HX Heat exchanger sat Saturated (vapour)
k Heat conductivity [W/m K] sep Separator
K Mass transfer coefficient [m/s] vap Vapour
l turbine blade length [m] WB Wet bulb
LiBr Lithium Bromide wf Working fluid
LiCl Lithium Chloride
m Mass flow [kg/s]
m00 Mass flow per unit cross section area [kg/m2 s] INTRODUCTION
Nu Nusselt number Current trend in improving energy effectiveness, increase of
p Pressure [kPa], pressure drop in [Pa] renewable and alternative energy shares and decarbonization of
PFD Process flow diagram power production suggests to utilize heat sources at very low
Pr Prandtl number temperatures for conversion into electricity. When technologies
Q Heat transfer [kJ/s] typically applied in large scale conventional plants are consid-
q00s Pool boiling heat flux [W/m2 ] ered for smaller units in distributed power generation, moreover
RH Relative humidity [kgH2O /kgdry air ] at heat source temperatures below 200 C, there appear a lot of
s Entropy [kJ/kg K] or spacing between tubes [m] both technical and economic obstacles and difficulties. This re-
T Temperature [ C] sults with a search towards novel both evolutionary and revolu-
u Velocity, peripheral velocity of steam in turbine [m/s] tionary technologies, which would enable utilization of the low
w Concentration [kgsolute /kgsolution ] or relative velocity temperature heat potential in a feasible way.
vector of steam in turbine [m/s] The most commonly employed technology for exploitation
W Power [kW] of low temperature heat sources is the organic Rankine cycle
x Vapour quality [-] (ORC), which uses organic fluids and refrigerants thermody-
z Turbine energy loss [kJ/kg s] namic advantages as lower heat of vaporization, more suitable
pressures or shape of saturated steam curve at same tempera-
tures. It is also considered as the best technology for conver-
Greek letters
sion of heat sources in the temperature range 200-400 C. ORCs
Convection heat transfer coefficient [W/m2 K] or angle of
are typically considered at subcritical parameters, supercritical
absolute velocity vector in turbine [ ]
ORCs are mostly in the research phase although pilot applica-
Angle of relative velocity in turbine [ ]
tions are slowly appearing. A key task in ORC design is a work-
Efficiency [% or -]
ing fluid selection, taking into account not only the thermody-
Two phase flow void fraction [-]
namic behaviour but also aspects like safety, toxicity, long term
Density [kg/m3 ]
chemical stability and cost. [15] Another technologies include
Surface tension [N/m]
indirectly heated Brayton cycle [6], inverted Brayton Cycle [7],
Viscosity [m2 /s] or outflow coefficient [-]
Stirling cycle [7, 8], trilateral cycle [3], thermoelectric, piezo-
Two phase multiplier for pressure drop [-]
electric, thermionic or thermo-photovoltaic conversion [1]. Most
Friction coefficient in turbine nozzle [-]
of these technologies however achieve only low efficiency, are in
Friction coefficient in turbine running blades [-]
relatively early research phase far from commercialization or are
in Turbine control valve pressure drop coefficient [-]
too expensive.
Turbine additional loss [-]
There is one another option in multi-component fluids and
absorption power cycles (APCs). When the working fluid is
Subscripts a (zeotropic) mixture of two components with various boiling
#, i Designation of node position in scheme or turbine or se- point, actual boiling point of the mixture becomes a function
quential number in calculations of components concentration. Cycles utilizing only this feature
amb Ambient to get temperature profile better matching to heat source are re-
cf Cooling fluid of condenser ported [9]. Apart from that, in the absorption process an advan-
cond Condensed / condenser tage is taken from different temperature levels between absorbent
e Electric (net output) interfacing with absorbed fluid at the same pressure. In a power
eva Evaporated cycle, this can be used to lower a turbine exhaust pressure while

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keeping the heat rejection temperature. Most common APC is solar fuel assisted power cycle [18]. then in year 1991 a LiBr /
Kalina cycle, which has been partially commercialized (globally LiCl / potassium hydroxide aqueous solution absorption power
around 25 MWe of installed capacity and more than 15 MWe cycle for standard fuel-fired plants in several modifications was
under development [10]). Kalina cycle uses a mixture of wa- patented by Ishida [19]. The proposed system always con-
ter and ammonia as a working fluid and has been proposed in sists of absorber condenser. The basic configuration of the cycle
many configurations, from high temperature application with a is shown on Fig. 2 (only with heat source being fuel fired boiler),
typical distillation medium pressure loop to low temperature ap- where separation is placed after evaporation. Other modifica-
plications with vapour separation from liquid phase after boil- tions circulate absorbent only around the absorber/condenser in
ing before the turbine, and with different level and complexity the low pressure part of the cycle, using distillation similarly to
of recuperation between different temperature levels within the high temperature Kalina cycles, or with alternative methods as
cycle [11, 12]. Schemes of high and low temperature configu- reverse osmosis or electric dialyzer. In 1995 Styliaras work [20]
rations are on Fig. 1. However the advantages of Kalina cycle provided results for cycle, where aqueous solution of LiBr with
are not definite. Guzovic et al. theoretically compared ORC Zinc Bromide and Calcium Bromide (1.2 : 1: 0.3) is used with
and Kalina cycle for two low temperature geothermal sources properties derived from Antoine equation. With the upper steam
in Croatia with higher power output being obtained from the generator temperature of 70 C was the efficiency of the cycle
ORC, due to relatively high Kalina cycle condensing temperature 6 % whereas for comparable Rankine steam cycle only 2 %. Is-
from cooling by air cooled condenser (ACC) at ambient tempera- sues with working at very low pressures are mentioned. Recently
ture 15 C. [13, 14] Problems with commissioning and operation in 2013 was conducted a basic energy and exergy analysis of cy-
have been also reported with large issue of corrosion in the cy- cle using LiBr at steam generator temperatures 80-140 C [21].
cle [15, 16]. A substantial increase in exergetic efficiency of the cycle was
identified when compared to the reference Rankine cycle at given
heat source and heat sink parameters and admission parameters
Turbine Separator Turbine of the steam. Cycle performance was also compared to couple of
ORC from references, showing comparable cycle thermal effi-
Heat source Eva-1
Separator ciency. This work is also the first one stressing the phenomenon
hot brine
Rec-1 inlet of variable temperature of boiling and condensation, which is
Rec associated with higher exergy conservation in heat exchangers.
Rec-2 Eva-1
Following up on this work was made in 2014 an exergoeconomic
study [22], where specific exergy costing method was used to
compare the H2 O-LiBr cycle to a simple Rankine and ammonia-
H2 O power cycles. The heat source was chosen as saturated wa-
ter vapour at 150 C for which was also determined a cost. This
water / air
heat source selection however limits using one of the cycles ma-
jor advantage in temperature match in heat exchanger. It was
water / air cooling
confirmed that even in this case of the heat source the LiBr-H2 O
water / air
cycle had highest efficiency of the three, however as the LiBr
a) b) based cycle operates at very low pressures and high volumetric
flows unlike the water-ammonia mixtures high pressure domain,
the analysis logically resulted in a disadvantage for the LiBr cy-
cle. It is although important to note, that applied costing formulas
were taken from references used for often large plants and its ap-
tor, Cond: Condenser, Rec: Recuperator; Modified from [11,12])
plication here be taken carefully (e.g. formula for steam turbine
cost is in chain of refences used for gas turbine, often with output
of hundreds MW. Different fluid properties and their affect on de-
Mixture of water and ammonia isnt the only working fluid sign of turbine is not taken into account.). Adding that in scope
that can be considered for absorption power cycles. One of the of very small units suitable for distributed power generation scal-
other options that has been several times proposed in the past is ing laws from large power plants do not exactly apply [23], the
use of aqueous salt solution, similarly as known from absorption results should be taken with caution. Lastly the potential of salt
cooling. The first suggestion of such idea came from Maloney solution based APC got recently in 2015 into Rogdakis and Lo-
and Robertson [17] in 1953 where LiCl is briefly proposed as los book chapter on Kalina cycle [12] stating potential salts as
an alternative to water-ammonia pair, possibly providing better LiBr, LiCl and CaCl2 . Except for stating previous knowledge a
performance. Solution of LiBr has been proposed in 1988 for note is taken of fact of superheated vapour right after boiling and

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separation and necessity of countercurrent design of absorber. Heat source
23 21
Except for water with ammonia or salts as solutions exist
other absorbent - absorbate pairs, namely usage of ionic liquids Separator 5

as absorbents or working pair from two different organic fluids

has been reported. There were investigated few modifications of
Goswami cycle [2426], that operate with amyl acetate (ionic 3~22
liquid) - CO2 or organic fluids as propane-decane, isobutane- Steam generator -
decane and other mixtures. Amyl acetate - CO2 with theoreti- Desorber
cally developed properties based on Peng-Robinson method has
been used for APC analysis reported in [27]. In this work was Recuperator 7

considered desorber final temperature 150 C and absorption 6

terminal temperature of 25 C (then subcooled by 5 C). Cy-
cle efficiency achieved was in baseline 14 %. Zheng et al. [28] 9

also mention that until recently, the research has been focusing 1
only on modifications and adjustment of the cycles using water- 32
ammonia mixture it but has not been conducted in direction of Absorber -
using other working fluids. Therefore he formulated properties Condenser
of three new working pairs based on organic and ionic liquids. 11 cooling

For absorption cycles can ionic liquids generally pair with H2 O, water / air
ammonia, hydrofluorocarbons, hydrocarbons and alcohols [29].
These cycles except for ammonia-water ones however FIGURE 2: PROCESS FLOW DIAGRAM OF THE SALT-H2 O
havent been calculated to utilize a specific heat source in waste ABSORPTION POWER CYCLE
heat recovery applications except for very recent work of the au-
thors [30, 31]. The cycles havent been studied experimentally,
of air in CT pCT is chosen with respect to manufacturers data
nor was found reference of sizing their single components. In the
from [32] and n is a number of segments for each HX discretiza-
first part of the paper will be introduced the principle of absorp-
tion. Ambient conditions were taken for relatively warm climate.
tion power cycle based on aqueous salt solution in general. After
fficiency of heat source utilization is calculated with respect to
that will be reviewed potential benefits of the proposed APC in
energy transferred from heat source fluid when cooled down to
comparison with Kalina cycle and ORCs, which are currently
ambient temperature for ACC and to wet bulb temperature for
considered for waste heat recovery applications. To see how a
CT heat rejection.
real device would be configured, what are its advantageous and
limiting features, general design aspects are then discussed, fol-
lowed by more accurate design data for 20 and 500 kWe units
(one with cooling by air cooled condenser, other by wet cooling
tower). In the last part before conclusion there are shown eco-
nomic aspects and brief cost estimate for the unit. TDB TW B pamb RHair Heq turb Approach
[ C] [ C] [kPa] [%] [m] [%] [ C]
25 21 100 70 15 80 5
Boundary Conditions and Properties Formulation pump Tmin,cond pCT RHCT,out Tmin,hs pACC f an
Heat source considered for the cycles was given as liquid [%] [ C] [Pa] [%] [ C] [Pa] [%]
water (pressurized to 8 bar) with temperatures 60-160 C, which
70 5 95 100 10 150 70
can represent fluid from geothermal or low temperature solar
sources and alternatively for later detailed design also hot air
which can represent industrial waste heat or flue gas for last bot-
toming unit. Other boundary conditions for the cycles are sum- There exist several formulations of water - salt solutions
marized in Tab. 1 for both cases of heat rejection methods, in- properties. In past were common works based on the Duhring
duced draft cooling tower (CT) and air cooled condenser (ACC). rule [33] and diagrams. Nowadays for LiBr are in use mainly two
Efficiency of pumps is chosen same for all pumps in the sys- formulations. The first one by Patek and Klomfar [34] is given
tem. Pinch point for recuperator is same as for the heat input for the entire composition range and temperature range from 0 C
HX, Tmin,hs . The difference between wet bulb temperature and to 227 C (500K), but gives only the properties on the vapour-
cold water outlet from CT is called Approach. Pressure drop liquid equilibrium curve. Second frequently used is formulation

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of Kim et al. [35] valid from 0 C to 210 C, 74 Pa to 1 MPa and and (2) which are written for each apparatus or its part, but also
0 to 70 % LiBr concentration. This formulation is used primar- for fluid components (salt and water). In the two phase region
ily in this work and calculation difference from the other one has is the liquid content handled as a saturated liquid at given pres-
been shown as minimal [30, 31]. Properties of LiCl solution are sure (temperature) and concentration while the vapour (pure wa-
based on another formulation of Patek and Klomfar [36], vapour- ter steam) properties are determined for particular pressure and
liquid equilibrium and range of parameters as previous work of temperature as a superheated steam. For processes with change
the authors. Properties of CaCl2 solution [37] have a significant of liquid solution concentration of salt in liquid solution as evap-
disadvantage of absence of enthalpy. This easily increases po- oration or condensation is added Eqn. (3). Effieciency of the tur-
tential error and the result should be taken accordingly as mostly bine and pump are considered, calculating their outlet enthalpy
only informative. Correlation of Ibrahim & Klein [38] is used for according to Eqn. (4, 5). When required properties are not avail-
water-ammonia mixture. Other thermodynamic properties used able, liquid is taken as ideal with heat transfer derived from heat
in the model are default to the EES. Particularly for water it was capacity, pump work based on incompressible fluid density and
IAPWS formulation. E pressure change.

Theoretical Model of the Cycle mi = 0 (1)

This section describes a thermodynamic model of the cycle
in general. Following assumptions are taken in the model. The
cycle is in steady state operation, heat losses within the cycle
are neglected and the working fluid in every part of the cycle is mi hi = 0 (2)
in the thermodynamic equilibrium. Pressure drops are neglected
except for heat rejection fluid with a pressure drop across the
condenser and (eventually) the cooling tower. A process flow 

diagram (PFD) of the cycle itself is shown on Fig. 2 and is in wi = (3)
mliq i
principle the same as the basic one proposed by Ishida [19] and
same with Hernandos et al. [21] work. Numbers representing
particular streams are used further in the work and in describing
equations. The cycle consists of pre-heater at which end (state 3) h6 = h5 (h5 h6,is ) is,turb (4)
is saturated liquid, followed by steam generator-desorber from
which exits a mixture of steam and absorbent solution (state 4;
in figure as single exchanger). Liquid and vapour phase are split
off in the separator. Steam after separation (state 5) is in a super- h1,is h11
h1 = h11 + (5)
heated state due to different liquid-vapour temperature of pure is,pump
water and solution. Separated rich solution (state 7) goes to re-
cuperator where its heat is transferred to the feed solution (state
In state 10 (after the adiabatic absorption and before heat re-
1). Steam goes to the turbine after which (state 6), at the be-
jection starts), the liquid is in equilibrium with vapour (having
ginning of absorber-condenser, is adiabatically mixed with and
certain absorbent concentration and pressure). At the same time
absorbed into the LiBr rich solution (state 9). Steam is absorbed
the mass and energy equation of the phase components, Eqn. (6,
until establishing of the liquid-vapour equilibrium, resulting in
7), must be satisfied. The whole process of following heat re-
temperature increase while maintaining the same pressure (state
jection in absorber is then controlled by same mass and energy
10). During condensation this temperature is also changing. As
balance equations, but with different pressure and heat transfer
the liquid absorbent concentration gradually decreases, the tem-
perature decreases as well. Pressure of the liquid fluid after con-
densation (state 11) is then increased by the pump to state 1.
Condenser needs to be cooled to reject the heat. These cooling m10 = mliq,10 + mvap,10 (6)
requirements represent a significant margin of the plant parasitic
load which is included in this work. Two methods of cooling are
considered, wet induced draft cooling tower (CT) and air cooled
condenser (ACC), both with a fan to push the air through. m9 h9 + m6 h6 = mliq,10 hliq,10 + mvap,10 hvap,10 (7)
Calculations are performed in Engineering Equation Solver
(EES) into which a system of equations is provided. The model All heat exchangers (HXs) are considered to be of a counter
is based on mass and energy conservation equations, Eqn. (1) flow configuration. Heat transfer takes place with defined pinch

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points in HXs. The evaporation and condensation processes are heat transfer coefficient is determined from Dittus Boelter equa-
supposed to occur at variable temperatures as the concentration tion (9), where coefficient a is 0.4 (for heating, for cooling would
of LiBr in the liquid phase is changing. In order to determine the be 0.3). Once boiling starts, there are relations for ratio of single
position of pinch point and shape of Q-T curves, HXs are dis- phase and two phase heat transfer coefficient given by Eqn. (10-
cretized by the total heat transferred which is in every element 11), where the higher one should be used. The x is steam quality
divided between heat for evaporation, to heat up the liquid solu- and relations are valid for 0 < x < 0.8. The stratification param-
tion and heat up vapour content, according to Fig. 3. Calculation eter f (Fr) is unity for vertical tubes and horizontal tubes with
is conducted through a step-by-step method from one chosen end Froude number Fr < 0.04. The Gs, f member is specific surface-
of the HX, and equilibrium state of the phases is solved in each fluid combinations and here given as unity. Nucleate boiling heat
step. For better convergence the calculation may be based on an flux q00s given by Eqn. (12) where the coefficient Cs, f and the ex-
elementary concentration change instead of transferred heat. In ponent n depend on the solidfluid combination, are determined
the calculations is later shown, that pinch point in the middle of experimentally and based on simplification of LiBr solution as
phase change is only in the absorber, in the desorber is the pinch water their values are chosen as 0.013 and 1.0. [40] Nusselt num-
point typically at the start of boiling. Recuperator has a mini- ber is then used according to its definition Eqn. (13) to obtain
mum temperature difference on the cold end and in none of the heat transfer coefficients for each calculation element of the des-
later presented cases was reached boiling point of the feed fluid orber. From knowing these and previously solved energy balance
in it. is calculated heat transfer area required for each single element
of the HX according to Eqn. (14), where kwall is heat conductiv-
ity of wall and L its thickness (3 mm thick stainless steel).
i-1 Qvap, i i
Nu = (0.032s/D 0.0144)Re0.8 Pr1/3 (8)
mvap, i-1 mvap, i

Qeva, i
mvap, i
Nu = 0.023 Re0.8 Pra (9)
mliq, i-1 mliq, i

Qliq, i

Qi liq 0.1 0.16


= 0.6683 x (1 x)0.64 f (Fr)
liq vap
m00 h f g

liq 0.45 0.72


= 1.136 x (1 x)0.08 f (Fr)
Components Sizing liq vap
Desorber Desorber (steam generator) is considered to be  00 0.7
of a once through design to achieve the variable working fluid +667.2 (1 x)0.8 Gs, f
m00 h f g
temperature during its phase change and thus achieve a required
high exergy efficiency when compared to typical boiling. A
shell & tube HX is considered with working fluid solution in-
side tubes. One reason for working fluid inside tubes is that 0.5 !3
g(liq vap ) c p,liq (Tsur f Tsat )

steam generator is still below ambient so that putting it in the
q00s = liq h f g a (12)
shell might cause design and cost issues and also with working Cs, f h f g Prliq
fluid inside tubes is expected to be more likely achieved desired
temperature profile. The flow direction of heat source fluid is as-
sumed in parallel to the single pass of tubes. The shell Nusselt
number is determined from Eqn. (8) for staggered tube banks Dh
[39]. For the flow inside the tubes, before boiling is reached, Nu = (13)

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(Ths Tw f )A General scheme is shown in Fig. 4. Steam enters in a tangent
Q= 1
hs+ k L + 1w f direction with rectangular entry pipe. Liquid phase from large
part first by hitting the wall and subsequently by gravity acting
on remaining droplets flow downwards, while steam rises to the
With turbine admission pressures around 10-20 kPa there is
steam collector pipe close to the upper edge of the vessel. In the
high sensitivity to pressure drop of certain components of the cy-
design should be thought of the fact, that the entering two phase
cle, while pressure drop of other components affects cycle perfor-
mixture quality is in between of typical geothermal flash plant
mance only in negligible amount. Pressure drop of single phase
separator and moisture remover. Suggested velocity for highest
fluids are in presented calculations neglected. Reason is its neg-
moisture removal above 99.995 % is around 35 m/s and that dic-
ligible effect on cycle performance due to minimal additional
tates the inlet pipe dimension, whereas annular space is given
pumping work and unaffected exergy efficiency of heat exchang-
by recommended steam upward velocity around 3 m/s. Pres-
ers as temperature profiles are kept nearly identical (important is
sure drop is determined by Eqn. (17). This equation shows, that
only pressure when beginning of boiling or processes in absorp-
pressure drop of separator is inversely proportional to outlet pipe
tion - condensation occur). Therefore pressure drop of recupera-
diameter Dvap,out and to limit the pressure drop, this diameter is
tor and preheating part of absorber is not included in this analy-
set here as three times larger than inlet diameter.
sis. On the other hand since boiling occurs, large pressure drops
would have large negative effects on the cycle as it would de-
teriorate temperature match in desorber, poorly designed steam
tract would significantly affect turbine performance and wrong Dsep
design of absorber-condenser would have adverse on increased
backpressure. Dvap,out
Pressure drop of the two phase flow is determined by rela-
0.15 Din
tions from [41], where based on present conditions the correla-
tion of Lockhart and Martinelli [42] is selected as most suitable Two phase inlet 5.5 Din
for frictional pressure drop especially in this stage of design. The
method according to Eqn. (15) is based on a two phase multiplier Din
used either for liquid or vapour phase based on Reynolds num-
ber of two phase flow, where for presented case were always to
Liquid outlet
3.5 Din
be used the relations based on gas phase properties. References
above cover further detailed formulas for the calculation. Fric- Dliq,out
tional pressure drop is calculated for every calculation element of
the desorber and then summed up. Secondly momentum pressure Vapour outlet
drop due to acceleration of fluid is determined from Eqn. (16),
where is void fraction of the flowing fluid. The inlet is com- FIGURE 4: SCHEME AND GENERAL DESIGN SPECIFICA-
pletely in liquid phase and therefore the second (inlet) term of TIONS FOR CYCLONE SEPARATOR (modified from [43])
the equation on right hand side is taken as zero. Effect of static
pressure is for this calculation neglected.

p f rict = vap pvap or p f rict = liq pliq (15)

16 D2sep,in u2 vap
psep = (17)
2 (1 x)2 x2
paccel = m00 + Turbine Expander will be designed as three stage impulse
liq (1 ) vap axial flow turbine. Three stages are chosen to keep the vapour
! out (16)
flow subcritical. Alternatively will be discussed option of sin-
(1 x)2 x2
+ gle stage turbine where using of Laval nozzle would be assumed.
liq (1 ) vap
in There may exist more efficient or economically effective turbine
design for the given parameters. The main purpose of selected
Separator Separator design is based on cyclone cen- design is however to demonstrate how a turbine of simple de-
trifuge separators used in geothermal flash plants. Possibility of sign and for small power output can achieve still a relatively
using gravity separators will be discussed in results. There is fol- high efficiency when compared to alternative turbines and ex-
lowed design as reported in DePippo [43] and Crabtree in [44]. panders considered for ORCs. Design of the turbine is based on

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typical mass and energy balance in a stator and rotor vanes and principle of losses calculation is described in [45]. Turbine stage
accounting for main losses of pressure and energy. The prin- efficiency is then given by Eqn. (25), which is used to calcu-
ciple of calculation follows traditional methodology developed late stage outlet enthalpy and then work delivered by the stage.
by turbine manufacturer Skoda Power company and in detail de- Overall turbine efficiency can be calculated from Eqn. (26). Net
scribed by Ambroz [45]. Nozzles entry (in turbine stages de- electric power output is obtained by multiplying result with me-
noted as state 0) pressure is lower than from steam duct due to chanical efficiency m , generator efficiency gen and if necessary
regulating valve (expressed by coefficient in ). Absolute velocity gearbox efficiency gear . Constants and major assumptions in
component of steam after the nozzles (in turbine stages denoted design of the turbine are summarized in Tab. 2.
as state 1) is given by Eqn. (18), which is then decreased to real
one by friction, reflected in calculation by velocity coefficient
and from energy balance is then determined steam enthalpy af-
Ms v1,is = 1 D1 l1,th c1,is sin (1 ) (22)
ter expansion, Eqn. (19). Peripheral velocity component is in
relation with chosen speed (revolutions per second) n and mean
diameter of vanes D1 given by Eq. (20). For first design before
optimization is used ratio u/c1,is around 0.45. Relative veloc-
Ms v1,is = 2 D2 l2 w2,is sin (2 ) e (23)
ity w1 and subsequently relative velocity in the exit from rotor
blades (in turbine stages denoted as state 2) w2 is then obtained
from velocity triangle given by Eqn. (21).
c2 = w22 + u2 2 w2 u cos (2 ) (24)
c1,is = c20 + 2 his,st 1000 = c1 / (18)

his,st + 0,st
2 zst
is,st = st (25)
c21,is c21 his,st
h1 = h1,is + 0.5 (19)

(his,st is,st ) (his,st is,st )

is,turb = = (26)
u = D1 n (20) his,turbine h5 h6,is

w1 = c21 + u2 2 c1 u cos (1 ) = w2,is = w2 / (21)

Stator vanes length without partial arch admission (theoreti- Ta gen m gear in 1 2 1
cal) l1,th is based on continuity Eqn. (22) with outflow coefficient
[ C] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [ ]
1 and flow angle 1 . Ratio of theoretical and actual blade length
defines the partial arch parameter e, actual blade length is then 90 0.96 0.99 0.97 0.04 0.98 0.97 0.97 0.95 13
subject to optimization. Rotor blades are based on rule of thumb
3 mm longer than stator vanes. Mean diameter is used same for
the stator vanes and rotor blades. Continuity Eqn. (23) in relative
system is used to determine exit angle of steam from rotor blades
2 . Absolute outlet velocity is determined from velocity trian- Absorber A falling film absorber has been chosen for
gle Eqn. (24). Subsequently there are determined energy losses. primary design as it should behave most alike the theoretical
First so called primary losses are given by friction (and related counter flow absorber. Absorber design is a complex task for
velocity loss) in turbine nozzles, in rotor blades and by outlet ki- modeling with various techniques developed, but different mod-
netic energy zst . Following that are for the stage determined els for determination of heat and mass transfer coefficients only
additional losses, namely peripheral loss, partial admission loss, seldom show agreement, number of models are valid only for
disc friction loss, windage loss, loss by variable velocity field narrow range of temperatures and concentrations and even ex-
along blade length and by outlet steam wetness st . Detailed perimental results are not well consistent [4648]. Absorber

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performance is here therefore estimated based on experimental Rankine cycles. Our previous research was focused on utiliza-
coefficient of mass transfer of water into LiBr solution around tion of given heat source stream. In the cycles was searched for
3105 m/s [49] and taken as constant along the absorber length. maximal net thermal efficiency of heat source utilization based
Similarly as for desorber the absorber has been discretized and on optimal variation of the condensing temperature and pressure
in each element the area is determined from required absorbed T11 and p11 (which together define final condensing solution con-
mass mabs based on Eqn. (27), where w is a concentration of centration) and of high pressure in the system p4 . Salt APCs
LiBr in equilibrium with vapour at the interface with liquid film were compared also to Rankine cycle, regular steam cycle with
(as there is non-volatile absorbent, there is no mass transfer re- either superheating or expansion from the saturated vapour and
sistance between vapour and interface). Bulk liquid has lower a range of ORCs (R143a, R152a, methanol, ammonia, R290 and
temperature Tliq from which is at given pressure determined con- R1234yf, isobutane, butane, cyclohexane, RC318, HFE7100,
centration wliq,sat as concentration of saturated liquid. Bulk so- R245fa and MM) and lastly compared to ammonia - water cycle.
lution temperature Tliq is determined from energy balance of the Rankine reference cycles utilization efficiency was maximized
elements liquid content according to Eqn. (28). The wall thick- with respect to evaporation temperature T3 and condensing tem-
ness and conductivity is taken same as for desorber, outer (cool- perature T1 . Where physically possible (dry expansion with suf-
ing fluid) side convection coefficient c f is taken as 200 W/m2 K ficiently high turbine outlet temperature) were considered also
for air cooled condenser and 3500 W/m2 K for water cooled con- reference ORC cycles with heat recuperation. Ammonia - water
denser, to be in agreement with desorber coefficient and typical APC efficiency was maximized same as for other APCs. Re-
values [40, 50]. Convection coefficient on inner (working fluid) sult of the maximized 1st law efficiency of heat source utiliza-
side between wall and solution film is estimated as water in spe- tion (1st,hs ) of APCs and maximum of reference Rankine cycles
cific free convection around 2000 W/m2 K [40, 50]. Heat transfer (separately for maximal cases with and without heat recupera-
between vapour and liquid is for simplicity neglected. tion) are shown in Fig. 5. Alternatively the results for the net
2nd law efficiency of heat source utilization (2nd,hs ) are shown
in Fig. 6. As a dead state for the efficiency is different for using
mabs = Kliq liq A (w wliq,sat ) (27)
CT and ACC (wet and dry bulb temperature), the efficiency is
fairly similar. This isnt however the case of power output which
is lower for ACC case. In the low heat source temperature region
is important the effect of heat rejection power requirements on
(Tliq Tc f ) A
Q= (28) the cycle efficiency. Even though gross efficiency may still be at
+ k L + 1w f
c f reasonable levels, this parasitic load takes almost all this power
output for 60 C heat source. This, namely below approximately
110-120 C heat source temperature is a perspective domain of
Absorber design will be considered as falling film type with
APCs as they can deliver more power than the Rankine (organic)
LiBr solution inside vertical tubes. Alternative option can be vac-
cycles do. Recuperation has negligible effect and often are better
uum vessel with cooling fluid in serpentine or coil pipes inside,
performing cycles where recuperation is not even possible (wet
however design of such vessel is considered as potentially more
expansion). At the same time the power output provided by the
problematic with respect to air tightness.
water-ammonia (basic Kalina) APC is fairly comparable to the
salt based APCs. In the domain of main interest for APCs below
Others Pump design will be taken from simple thermody- 120 C the water-ammonia cycle has however the lowest effi-
namic model with given efficiency 50 % to be on safe side, even- ciency among the APCs. This changes as the temperature of heat
tually having margin for possible additional pressure drop. Recu- source rises above 130 C, where water-ammonia cycles has the
perator is taken a pipe within a pipe counter-flow HX with same highest efficiency out of the APCs. More detailed parameters
calculation procedure as beginning of desorber before reaching of the APCs and RCs across the temperature range 60-160 C,
boiling point (heat transfer based on Eqn. (9)). ACC and CT same as sensitivity analysis to main parameters controlling the
models were taken already with to respect real behaviour by tak- cycle performance are presented in [31].
ing coefficients from GEA sizing tools [32]. To illustrate the difference between salt based APC and ref-
erence cycles, there were for several cases plotted ratio of their
efficiency Fig. 7. The gain of APCs increases with decreasing
RESULTS & DISCUSSION heat source temperature. Figure shows, that APCs can deliver
Comparison of APC with Other Cycles higher power output than maximum of investigated ORCs below
The efficiency of the cycle only (cycle ) has been studied temperature about 120 C. Then even though with very small
and reported before for the salt-water and water-ammonia cy- thermal and thermodynamic (1st and 2nd law) efficiency at heat
cles, where APCs for given conditions had higher efficiency than source temperatures below 80 C and ACC for heat rejection,

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8 45
7 40

6 35

2nd,hs [%]
1st,hs [%]

4 LiBr
LiBr LiCl
LiCl 15 CaCl2
2 CaCl2
10 ammonia-water
max ORC simple
1 max ORC simple 5
max ORC recup
max ORC recup
0 0
60 80 100 120 140 160 60 80 100 120 140 160
Heat source temperature [C] Heat source temperature [C]
(a) Cooling tower (a) Cooling tower
8 45

7 40

2nd,hs [%]
1st,hs [%]

4 LiBr
LiBr LiCl
LiCl 15 CaCl2
2 CaCl2
10 ammonia-water
max ORC simple
1 max ORC simple 5
max ORC recup max ORC recup
0 0
60 80 100 120 140 160 60 80 100 120 140 160
Heat source temperature [C] Heat source temperature [C]
(b) Air cooled condenser (b) Air cooled condenser


the APCs are capable of delivering more than twice of power.

For heat rejection by CT and same source temperature, the gain
is not as significant, but still around 50 %. Therefore there is
seen higher potential for applications with cooling water insuffi- barrier. Freezing problems encountered sometimes in cooling
cience, where ACC has to be used as the mean of heat rejection. machines shouldnt pose a problem here. A major difference
When salt APCs are compared with water-ammonia APC, certain from previous studies [12, 21, 22] focusing more on cycle only
gain is also present, interestingly for source temperatures below efficiency is observed and presented here with respect to solution
about 130 C. There is also presented separately case of LiBr concentration. The weak solution concentration is significantly
APC which is believed to be best achievable in real device im- lower (around 30 % of salt) and the change of concentration is
plementation and more detailed design parameters are presented also higher. The reason for such behaviour is found in use of de-
further. sired high temperature change over variable temperature boiling
To compare absorption power and cooling cycles, they are and condensation. This maximizes heat transfer to the cycle from
both shown together in Fig. 8 on a Duhring diagram for a case heat source which occurs at still relatively high mean temperature
with maximal working fluid temperature 90 C. Difference be- and similarly achieves high cooling medium outlet temperature
tween power and refrigeration cycle can be seen by pressure lev- while keeping very low absorber pressure. Larger change in con-
els. There can be seen, that APC compared to cooling cycle has centration also results in smaller liquid flow through recuperator
an advantage of working fluid being further from crystallization and smaller amount of recuperated heat.

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4 100
30 weight % LiBr
pure water
max salt APC / max ORC 50%
3 max salt APC / ammonia APC

Water vapor pressure [kPa]

LiBr APC / max ORC
power cycle 60%
ratio [-]

2 70%

1 Crystallization line

0,5 0 20 40 60 80 100
60 80 100 120 140 160
Heat Source Temperature [C]
Saturated solution temperature [C]

3 max salt APC / ammonia APC PERATURE 90 C.
LiBr APC / max ORC
ratio [-]

2 mixture is achieved in both cases. Similar phenomena affects the

absorber, where the air cooled one has more than five times rel-
ative area (to same output) than water cooled in 500 kWe unit.
1 Recuperator in both cases has a very small area as there is liquid
on both sides and allowable pressure drop is relatively high. Des-
0,5 orber for the 500 kWe unit needs to have baffles in heat source
60 80 100 120 140 160
Heat Source Temperature [C] stream (shell side) to provide reasonable velocity of the fluid.
(b) Air cooled condenser Absorber - condenser is calculated only preliminarily indi-
cating large surface heat exchanger, where at the same time will
FIGURE 7: RATIO OF THE EFFICIENCY OF PROPOSED CY- be necessity to ensure proper wetting of the surfaces (unlike from
CLE AND MAXIMUM OF THE REFERENCE CYCLES. typical condenser absorption takes place into a subcooled liquid).
The process of absorption is highly limiting element of the pro-
cesses of heat transfer in the exchanger. In case of air cooled
Design parameters for 20 kWe and 500 kWe units condenser heat rejection it appears that it is although comparable
Here we present results of single components calculation to cooling by air and this combination results in relatively huge
and parameters in the LiBr APC cycle when pressure drops are required heat transfer area. It is although important to note, that
included for a case of heat source at temperature 100 C. Two operating conditions proposed for the absorber have not been ex-
cases are being presented, first with heat source being air (simi- perimentally verified and so the presented results should be taken
larly would behave e.g. flue gas), heat rejection being assumed with large caution. As the absorption of vapour needs subcooled
to be an ACC and net power output of the whole unit is 20 kWe . liquid into which it is absorbed, with the last piece of vapour be-
The second case assumes the heat source to be a slightly pressur- ing absorbed the liquid is already subcooled around 1 C. Higher
ized water (e.g. geothermal source) and CT being used for heat subcooling hasnt been in this stage of design considered.
rejection. Table 3 for the 20 kWe unit and Tab. 4 for the 500 kWe Separation of vapour given the large dimensions is for the
unit comprehensively show parameters and states of the cycle in 500 kWe case proposed as 4 parallel separator units. Eventually
each of its node. it might be for units with higher output better to use a horizontal
The parameters calculated for the heat exchangers and sepa- gravity type, perhaps combined with demister or a droplet elim-
rator used in the cycle are presented in table 5. It can be seen that inating packing. Relatively large outlet diameter is used in order
due to much lower heat transfer coefficient of air, than when liq- to decrease the pressure drop. Note that in typical geothermal ap-
uid is used, the heat transfer area of the desorber is only slightly plications the pressure drop can be easily in order of kPa, which
larger for the 500 kWe unit than for the 20 kWe unit. The dif- for the presented case is an admission pressure of the cycle.
ference in configuration is so that similar velocity of two phase Turbine specifications are given in Tab. 6. The turbine for

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PFD node # Ti hi mi pi si wi PFD node # Ti hi mi pi si wi

[ C] [kJ/kg] [kg/s] [kPa] [kJ/kgK] [kg/kg] [ C] [kJ/kg] [kg/s] [kPa] [kJ/kgK] [kg/kg]

1 32.8 67.1 0.451 12.54 0.333 0.375 1 32.0 79.2 6.85 16.44 0.394 0.272
2 57.6 130.0 0.451 12.54 0.531 0.375 2 49.8 130.2 6.85 16.44 0.557 0.272
3 61.2 139.1 0.451 12.54 0.558 0.375 3 61.0 162.9 6.85 16.44 0.656 0.272
4 90.0 1044.0 0.451 12.36 3.186 1.000 4 90.0 1421.0 6.85 16.26 4.335 1.000
5 90.0 2668.0 0.154 12.31 8.300 0 5 90.0 2668.0 3.39 16.20 8.173 0
6 23.5 2514.0 0.154 2.90 8.488 0 6 27.7 2495.0 3.39 3.71 8.312 0
7 90.0 203.2 0.297 12.36 0.538 0.569 7 90.0 197.2 3.46 16.26 0.569 0.539
8 42.8 107.7 0.297 12.36 0.257 0.569 8 42.0 96.2 3.46 16.26 0.271 0.539
9 42.8 107.7 0.297 2.90 0.257 0.569 9 42.0 96.2 3.46 3.71 0.271 0.539
10 56.3 928.7 0.451 2.90 3.074 0.553 10 53.5 1284.0 6.85 3.71 4.267 0.514
11 32.8 67.1 0.451 2.90 0.333 0.375 11 32.0 79.2 6.85 3.71 0.394 0.272

21 100.0 374.1 13.93 110 7.063 21 100.0 419.2 70.80 150 1.307
22 71.2 344.7 13.93 110 22 70.9 297.5 70.80 150
23 70.9 344.7 13.93 110 6.981 23 70.1 294.4 70.80 150 0.959

31 25.0 61.2 19.21 100 31 26.1 109.4 206.95 147

32 44.5 81.3 19.21 100 32 35.6 149.3 206.95 147
33 (CTout ) 26.0 109.1 204.14 100

40 (airCT,in ) 25.0 61.2 197.81 100

the 20 kWe unit is assumed to have a gearbox and operate on
9000 rpm, whereas for the 500 kWe unit the turbine will be op- 41 (airCT,out ) 30.6 103.9 200.62 100
erating directly at grid based 3000 rpm. It is shown, that even
for as little as the 20 kWe unit the turbine can have nearly 80 %
isentropic efficiency and above 73 % net efficiency. The larger consumption is less than 7 W for the 20 kWe unit and only 141 W
500 kWe unit turbine has even net efficiency 80 %. For the larger for the 500 kWe unit. This shows that a very cheap pump with
unit is due to long blades considered using of twisted 3D blades poor efficiency will still have a negligible effect on the cycle per-
and therefore loss from different velocity along the blade is di- formance. Resulting net utilization efficiency of such cycle is for
minished. Both turbines can be considered as very large for their the 20 kWe unit 2.24 % and cycle efficiency 4.88 %, the 500 kWe
power output. On the other hand amount of material is only a unit utilization efficiency is 2.13 % with cycle efficiency, higher
fraction of turbine overall cost, at low temperatures can be used 5.66 %. Difference in utilization efficiency shows higher poten-
cheap material, conventional manufacturing methods can be used tial for ACC applications, where cycle can better utilize available
and therefore size is not considered to be a decisive aspect. If the potential (with CT the energy content of heat source is referenced
design with single stage and Laval nozzle was used, similar ef- against wet bulb temperature). Difference in cycle efficiency is
ficiency would be obtained. Mean diameter would be however in lower heat rejection temperature available with CT.
approximately double of the three stage turbine. For 20 kWe unit
turbine would be used partial arch admission. Operation with
high efficiency would be however due to Laval nozzle use lim- CONCLUSION
ited very close to the design point. Absorption power cycles based on aqueous salt solution of
Table 7 summarizes major parameters for the cooling tower LiBr, LiCl and CaCl2 were analyzed for waste heat recovery
and air cooled condenser. Feed pump consumes only a minimum applications, while taking into consideration a parasitic load of
amount of electricity as even with their 50 % efficiency its power heat rejection. Cycles were compared with Rankine cycles us-

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component/case 20 kWe unit 500 kWe unit Parameter 20kWe unit 500kWe unit units

Desorber mhs 13.93 70.8 kg/s speed 9000 3000 rpm

(Shell&Tube) mw f 0.45 6.85 kg/s his 209.8 214.8 kJ/kg
Aboiling 137 159 m2 mvap 0.154 3.390 kg/s
A preheat 1.5 4.6 m2 e 1 1 -
tubing 56x3 56x3 mm u/c1is,1stst 0.417 0.459 -
tube count 38 586 - u/c1is,2ndst 0.463 0.470 -
Tube spacing 0.130 0.075* m u/c1is,3rdst 0.479 0.477 -
Length 22.9 1.7 m l1,1stst 0.036 0.186 m
uout 27.4 30.0 m/s l1,2ndst 0.050 0.278 m
p f rict+accel 177.5 172.1 Pa l1,3rdst 0.078 0.431 m
Dmean,1stst 0.332 1.097 m
Recuperator A 0.17 2.1 m2
Dmean,2ndst 0.366 1.116 m
(pipe in pipe) Diner 12.8x2 34.6x2 mm
Dmean,3rdst 0.369 1.139 m
Douter 19.5 69 mm
is 79.8 84.2 %
Length 0.001 0.02 m
net 73.5 80.0 %
Absorber A 416 1933 m2
Wsha f t 25.6 618.8 kW
Separator Din 0.27 0.56 m Wnet 23.6 586.2 kWe
Dvap,out 0.95 1.96 m
Dsep 1.4 2.89** m
p 47.1 61.7 Pa 500 kWe UNIT.
* used baffles; ** 4 parallel unit to keep reasonable dimensions and pressure drop
Air cooled condenser mair 19.3 kg/s
(20 kWe unit) W f an 3.6 kW

ing steam and 13 different organic working fluids. Absorption Cooling Tower Wcooling pump 61.5 kW
power cycles have a potential of application especially for very (500 kWe unit) W f an 25.0 kW
low temperature heat sources. Below heat source temperatures
mcooling water 208.8 kg/s
of approximately 120 C is the highest efficiency of heat source
utilization (and thus power output) provided by absorption power mair 202.2 kg/s
cycles, namely first CaCl2 , then LiCl and LiBr based cycle. The
ammonia-water mixture absorption cycle (simplest Kalina cycle)
has the lowest efficiency of absorption cycles in this low temper- tion with typically high pressures gives potential for a very com-
ature domain. Relative thermodynamic benefit of absorption cy- pact turbine, however for small power output this low volumetric
cles over Rankine cycles increases as the heat source temperature flow would result in very inefficient device, not to mention cor-
goes down, reaching up to hundreds percents at source temper- rosion problems from ammonia. LiBr solution seems to provide
ature 60 C. Reason is mainly in heat rejection energy demand, a trade off between relatively moderate vacuum, high efficiency
which can go up to a level comparable with turbine output. of the cycle and volumetric flow large enough for highly efficient
All absorption cycles using salt solution operate completely turbine design. Problems might arise in designing the two-phase
in vacuum in the whole investigated range of heat source temper- heat exchangers with changing temperature along the fluid flow
atures, which will require very air tight design solution. Deepest which is planned to be in detail explored later on in experimen-
vacuum is in CaCl2 and LiCl cycles. Water-ammonia combina- tal work. Another obstacle might be corrosivity of the solution.

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Potential issue of reaching crystallization barrier hasnt been en- velopment in the stirling cycle engines. Renewable and
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