tesla turbine a new dream for power generation

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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng

Research Paper

Rankine Cycle (ORC) system

Jian Song, Chun-wei Gu, Xue-song Li ⇑

Key Laboratory for Thermal Science and Power Engineering of Ministry of Education, Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

h i g h l i g h t s

One-dimensional model of the Tesla turbine is improved and applied in ORC system.

Working fluid properties and system operating conditions impact efficiency.

The influence of turbine efficiency on ORC system performance is evaluated.

Potential of using Tesla turbine in ORC systems is estimated.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system has been proven to be an effective method for the low grade energy

Received 12 June 2016 utilization. In small scale applications, the Tesla turbine offers an attractive option for the organic

Revised 10 August 2016 expander if an efficient design can be achieved. The Tesla turbine is simple in structure and is easy to

Accepted 26 August 2016

be manufactured. This paper improves the one-dimensional model for the Tesla turbine, which adopts

Available online 27 August 2016

a non-dimensional formulation that identifies the dimensionless parameters that dictates the perfor-

mance features of the turbine. The model is used to predict the efficiency of a Tesla turbine that is applied

Keywords:

in a small scale ORC system. The influence of the working fluid properties and the operating conditions on

ORC

Tesla turbine

the turbine performance is evaluated. Thermodynamic analysis of the ORC system with different organic

One-dimensional model working fluids and under various operating conditions is conducted. The simulation results reveal that

Performance estimation the ORC system can generate a considerable net power output. Therefore, the Tesla turbine can be

regarded as a potential choice to be applied in small scale ORC systems.

Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction the traditional turbines under small mass flow rate condition also

limits their practical applications. In this case, the Tesla turbine

Primary energy consumption is enlarging rapidly with the allows a low-cost and reliable design for the organic expander that

development of the human society. Energy shortage and environ- could be an attractive option for small scale ORC systems.

mental deterioration are two consequent crucial issues that the The Tesla turbine was invented by the famous scientist, Nikola

developing world has to face. In order to solve these problems, Tesla, in 1913 [15]. It is a kind of turbo-machinery that combines a

the utilization of low grade heat sources, such as the geothermal series of flat parallel discs rather than rotating blades. Thus, the

energy [1,2], the solar energy [3,4], the biomass energy [5,6] and Tesla turbine is called the bladeless turbine as well. The discs

the waste heat [7,8], is attracting broad attention in recent years. distribute co-axially along a shaft such that a small gap is formed

Among all of the existing technologies, the Organic Rankine Cycle between any two adjacent discs. This design makes use of the vis-

(ORC) has been proven to be one of the most effective methods cous effect of the working fluid which occurs in the boundary layer

for the low grade energy conversion [9–14]. The axial flow turbine flow between the rotating discs. The working fluid flows spirally

and the radial in-flow turbine are typically selected as the expan- from the outer part to the inner part and transfers the kinetic

ders in the ORC system. However, in small scale applications, the energy to the discs. Then the working fluid flows out through the

traditional organic expanders are not suitable since the flow loss holes located between the inner part of the discs and the shaft.

will be considerably large. In addition, the high rotation speed of The combination of the discs and the shaft is placed inside a shell

and a plenum chamber is formed, out of which several nozzles are

⇑ Corresponding author. distributed uniformly to supply the inflow working fluid.

E-mail address: xs-li@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn (X.-s. Li).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2016.08.168

1359-4311/Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

J. Song et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 110 (2017) 318–326 319

Nomenclature

Q heat load, kW q density, kg/m3

h specific enthalpy, kJ/kg l viscosity coefficient, Pas

cp specific heat capacity, kJ/kgK n relative radius

T temperature, K

p pressure, kPa Subscripts

W power, kW wf working fluid

v velocity, m/s tot total

c sonic speed, m/s HS heat source

r radius, mm in inlet

b gap distance, mm out outlet

f friction force factor pump pump

Re Reynolds number evap evaporator

V volume, m3 exp expander

A area, m2 cond condenser

v^ h relative velocity, m/s c cooling water

W^ dimensionless relative velocity net net

X a dimensionless parameter the thermal

C constant number T turbine

exp experiment 1 outer circumference of the rotor

sim simulation 2 inner circumference of the rotor

N number of the discs

n rotation speed, rpm Acronyms

ORC Organic Rankine Cycle

Greek symbols GWP global warming potential

sw shear stress, N/m2 ODP ozone depletion potential

g efficiency

In the subsequent years after the invention of the Tesla turbine, characteristic and the momentum transfer in the Tesla turbine.

this novel concept has received enormous attention in both techni- As for a low grade heat source, a small scale ORC system is

cal and industrial fields. Many analytical and experimental investi- designed to utilize the energy and the Tesla turbine is applied to

gations have been conducted to explore the performance of the generate the power output. The one-dimensional model is used

Tesla turbine. Rice [16] reviewed the principles of the Tesla-type to predict the turbine efficiency. The influence of the working fluid

turbomachinery and discussed the problems with nozzles and dif- properties and the ORC system operating conditions on the Tesla

fusers. In addition, the analytical methods that had been found use- turbine performance is evaluated. Thermodynamic analysis of the

ful in modeling and calculating the flow in the rotor and the ORC system is conducted to explore the potential of applying the

experimental results obtained by some investigators were Tesla turbine in such small scale systems.

described. Couto et al. [17] presented a simple and straightforward

technique, using basic fluid mechanics, to estimate the needed 2. Thermodynamic model of ORC system

number of discs required for a Tesla turbine, compressor or pump.

Lemma et al. [18] presented experimental and numerical study to Fig. 1 shows the schematic diagram of a basic ORC system, which

explore the performance characteristics of viscous flow turbines consists of a working fluid pump, an evaporator, an

and the results indicated that the adiabatic efficiency of this kind organic expander and a condenser. The liquid organic working fluid

of turbomachinery was around 25%. Lampart et al. [19] presented from the condenser is firstly pumped into the evaporator, where it

results of the design analysis of a Tesla bladeless turbine intended is converted into saturated or superheated vapor by the heat source.

for a co-generating micro-power plant of heat capacity 20 kW, Next, the organic vapor expands in the expander to produce power.

which operated in an organic Rankine cycle with a low-boiling Afterwards, the exhaust organic vapor from the expander is con-

medium; the simulation results showed that the best obtained densed to liquid in the condenser by the cooling water.

solutions can be competitive as compared with classical small The thermal process of the ORC system is shown in Fig. 2, which

bladed turbines. Enign et al. [20] researched the experimental and can also be described as follows.

theoretical characterization of a multiple-disc fan based on the Process 1–2 in the working fluid pump is given by

principle of conservation of angular momentum. The effect of gap

width and rotational speed were numerically investigated for both _ wf ðh2s h1 Þ

m

W pump ¼ ð1Þ

design and off-design volume flow rates. Carey [21] developed a 1D gpump

model analysis for flow and momentum transport in the Tesla tur-

bine and evaluated the turbine use in Rankine cycle solar thermal where h2s is the isentropic enthalpy of the working fluid after being

power generation systems. Guha and Sengupta [22] presented a compressed in the pump, and gpump is the efficiency of the pump.

simple theory that described the three-dimensional fields of veloc- Process 2–4 in the evaporator is given by

ity and pressure in the Tesla disc turbine, which gave the torque and

_ wf ðh4 h2 Þ ¼ m

Q ev ap ¼ m _ HS cp;HS T HS;in T HS;out ð2Þ

power output that had been verified by comparing the theoretical

predictions with recently published experimental results. where cp,HS is the average specific heat capacity of the heat source,

In this paper, the one-dimensional model for the Tesla turbine is and THS,in and THS,out are defined as its inlet and outlet temperatures,

used to predict its performance, which focuses on the flow respectively.

320 J. Song et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 110 (2017) 318–326

Fig. 2. T-s diagram of ORC. wards, the working fluid flows out through the hole near the

inner part of the discs and the shaft.

A one-dimensional model [21] is presented to analysis the flow

Process 4–5 in the organic expander is given by characteristics in the Tesla turbine. First, the working fluid expands

_ wf ðh4 h5s Þ gT

WT ¼ m ð3Þ in the nozzles, with enthalpy dropping and velocity increasing:

( pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

where h5s is the isentropic enthalpy of the exhaust organic vapor at v1 ¼ u 2Dhs ; if v1 < c ð7Þ

the expander outlet, and gT is the efficiency of the organic expander. v 1 ¼ c; if v1 P c

Process 5–1 in the condenser is given by

m _

Q cond ¼ m _ c cp;c T c;out T c;in

_ wf ðh5 h1 Þ ¼ m ð4Þ v r1 ¼ ð8Þ

2p r 1 b q

where cp,c is the average specific heat capacity of the cooling water, qﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

Tc,in and Tc,out are its inlet and outlet temperatures, respectively. v h1 ¼ v 21 v 2r1 ð9Þ

The net power output of the ORC system is

where u is the velocity coefficient of the nozzle, which indicates the

W net ¼ W T W pump ð5Þ

flow loss that occurs in the expansion process. Eqs. (8) and (9) show

The thermal efficiency of the ORC system can be calculated as the velocity components in r-direction and h-direction.

In the original model, the maximum velocity at the nozzle out-

W net W T W pump

gnet ¼ ¼ ð6Þ let is assumed to be the sonic speed (if choked in the nozzle). In

Q HS GHS cp;HS T HS;in T HS;out other words, if the outlet velocity calculated is higher than the

sonic speed, v1 will be replaced by the sonic speed.

In the classical theory of turbine blade, however, the blade pro-

3. One-dimensional model of the Tesla turbine file after throat allows a supersonic flow at the blade outlet by a

series of expansion waves, the Mach number of which can reach

3.1. Model analysis up to 1.4 based on experience. Similarly, the nozzle profile of the

Tesla turbine can also produce a supersonic flow at the nozzle out-

Fig. 3 shows the schematic diagram of a Tesla turbine. The let. Moreover, it is not difficult to design a Laval nozzle for the Tesla

working fluid expands in the inlet nozzles and then flows spirally turbine, in which the numerical model of Eq. (10) is also available

into the rotor. The viscous effect that occurs in the boundary layers even the Mach number of the flow at the nozzle outlet is higher

drags the discs to rotate, within which the momentum of the work- than 1.4. Therefore, in this paper the model is improved by using

ing fluid transfers to kinetic energy of the rotating discs. After- the actual speed of the flow at the nozzle outlet.

J. Song et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 110 (2017) 318–326 321

pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

v1 ¼ u 2Dhs ð10Þ Thus, the h-direction momentum equation becomes

@v h v r v h 12lv^ h

The flow in the gaps between any two adjacent discs is a very

vr þ ¼ ð22Þ

thin fluid film, which is similar to that in the bearing [23,24] and @r r qb2

the seal [25,26]. Then, it is assumed to be a periodic symmetric,

steady, incompressible laminar flow. In the cylindrical coordinates, dv h 24pr lv^ h v h

¼ ð23Þ

the governing continuity Eq. (11) and momentum Eqs. (12)–(14) dr _

mb r

are listed below.

Several dimensionless parameters are defined and introduced

Continuity:

to make the equations simpler

1 @ðrv r Þ 1 @ v h @ v z

^ ¼ v^ h

þ þ ¼0 ð11Þ r 2b m _

r @r r @h @z W n¼ X¼ ð24Þ

U1 r1 r 1 pr 1 l

r-direction momentum:

Then, Eq. (23) can be transformed to

@v r v h @v r @ v r v 2h 1 @P

vr þ þ vz ¼ dv^ h 1 v^ h 2U 1

@r r @h @z r q @r ¼

48r

ð25Þ

" # dr X r1 r r

2 r1

1 @ @v r 1 @ v r @ v r v r 2 @v h

2 2

þt r þ 2 þ 2 2 2 þ fr

r @r @r r @h2 @z r r @h Finally, the equation can be simplified and given by

^

ð12Þ dW 48n 1 ^

h-direction momentum: ¼ W 2 ð26Þ

dn X n

@v h v h @v h @v h v r v h 1 @P

vr þ þ vz þ ¼ Using the basic mathematical methods, Eq. (26) can be solved

@r r @h @z r qr @h and the result is shown below.

" #

1 @ @v h 1 @2v h @2v h v h 2 @v r

þt þ 2 þ 2 2 þ fh ^ ¼ 1 e24nX X 24n2

2

r W e X þC ð27Þ

r @r @r r @h2 @z2 r r @h n 24

ð13Þ

C is a constant value and it can be determined by the boundary con-

z-direction momentum: dition at the outer circumference of the rotor.

@v z v h @v z @v z 1 @P

vr þ þ vz ¼ ^ 1 ¼ e24X X 24 v h1 U1

@r r @h @z q @z W

24

e X þC ¼

U1

ð28Þ

" #

1 @ @v z 1 @ v z @2v z

2

þt r þ 2 þ þ fz ð14Þ Therefore, the equation can be indicated as

r @r @r r @h2 @z2

^ ¼ 1 e24nX X e24nX þ W^ 1 X e24X

2 2

n 24 24

equations above can be reduced to the followings.

Continuity: The power output and the efficiency of the Tesla turbine can be

calculated through the following equations.

1 @ðrv r Þ h

i

¼0 ð15Þ

r @r _ ½v h1 U 1 v h2 U 2 ¼ m

WT ¼ m _ W^ 1 þ 1 U2 W

1

^ 2 þ n2 n2 U 2

1

r-direction momentum: ð30Þ

@v v 1 @P2

vr r ¼ h

þ fr ð16Þ ^ 1 þ 1 U2 W^ 2 þ n2 n2 U 2

@r r q @r v h1 U1 v h2 U2 W 1 1

gT ¼ ¼ ð31Þ

h-direction momentum: Dh Dh

@v h v r v h According to Eqs. (29) and (31), if the geometry size of a Tesla

vr þ ¼ fh ð17Þ turbine is determined, the efficiency of the Tesla turbine is mainly

@r r

related to these two dimensionless parameters, X and W ^ 1 . Fig. 4

z-direction momentum:

shows the variation of the turbine efficiency with these two

1 @P parameters for a specified Tesla turbine. The trends are clear from

0¼ ð18Þ

q @z the results. The highest Tesla turbine efficiency is attained for

both low X and low dimensionless inlet tangential velocity differ-

The model focuses on the momentum transfer in the gap, thus ^1 .

ence W

the primary interest is the h-direction momentum, Eq. (17). fh is

regarded as the wall friction force on a micro fluid element

between the discs and it can be given by 3.2. Validation of the model

fh ¼ ¼ ð19Þ

qV qAb turbine, which is used to verify the one-dimensional model in this

where sw is the shear stress paper. The turbine was stated to have discs with an outer radius of

8.89 cm, an inner radius of 3.35 cm and a gap distance of 1.02 mm.

qv^ 2h 24 qv^ 2h 24 qv^ 2h 6lv^ h

sw ¼ f ¼ ¼ ¼ ð20Þ Air was selected as the working fluid in this experimental research.

2 Re 2 qv h 2b=l 2

^ b In addition, the author declared that virtually all the pressure drop

v^ h is the relative velocity of the working fluid occurred in the nozzle. Thus, the exit of the nozzle was at atmo-

sphere pressure, which could determine the enthalpy drop in the

U1

v^ h ¼ v h U ¼ v h r ð21Þ nozzle and the velocity of the working fluid at the rotor inlet.

r1 The comparison of the experimental results and those predicted

322 J. Song et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 110 (2017) 318–326

obtained from REFPROP 9.1.

Thermodynamic analysis of the ORC system with different

working fluids is conducted. The simulation is carried out by a

computer program written by the authors in the FORTRAN envi-

ronment [28–30]. Several conditions and assumptions are given

below:

(1) the heat loss and the pressure loss of the pipelines in the

ORC system are ignored;

(2) the efficiency of the working fluid pump is set as 0.8;

(3) the Tesla turbine efficiency is calculated by the one-

dimensional model;

(4) the pinch point temperature differences of the evaporator

and the condenser are fixed at 6 K;

(5) the superheating degree of the working fluid at the inlet of

the Tesla turbine is set as 1 K;

^ 1 for a Tesla turbine with

Fig. 4. Prediction of the efficiency variation with X and W

(6) the condensation temperature of the working fluid is set as

n2 = 0.4 and n = 8000 rpm.

305 K.

by the one-dimensional model is listed in Table 1. The simulation 4.2. Results of the ORC system with different working fluids

results with Eq. (7) are consistent with the results in [21] because

they use the same model. Adopting the improved model with Eq. In this section, the outlet temperature of the hot water after

(10), the results become much better and agree well with the heat exchange is fixed at 338.15 K. Thus, the total heat load

experimental data. absorbed by the ORC system is constant, which only reaches about

32 kW. Thus, this ORC system can be categorized as a small scale

4. Results and discussion one. For each kind of the working fluids, the computer program

arrives to a proper evaporation temperature through continuous

4.1. Heat source condition and working fluid selection iteration, the heat load above which is utilized for evaporation

and below which is used for preheating the working fluid to the

The selected heat source is hot water, the mass flow rate and bubble point temperature.

the initial temperature of which are 0.5 t/h and 393.15 K, respec- Thermodynamic results of the ORC system with different work-

tively. According to the temperature level of the heat source, seven ing fluids are listed in Table 3, including the evaporation tempera-

organic fluids are selected as the working fluid candidates. The ture, the evaporation pressure, the mass flow rate of the working

Table 1

Comparison of the experimental and simulation results of the Tesla turbine.

m X g (exp) g in [21] g (sim) g (sim)

Eq. (7) Eq. (10)

368 377 6300 0.00194 7.35 0.217 0.155 0.157 0.184

368 377 8500 0.00194 7.35 0.254 0.206 0.207 0.243

368 377 9200 0.00194 7.35 0.258 0.222 0.222 0.261

Table 2

Properties of the working fluid candidates.

Working fluid Molecular weight (g/mol) Normal boiling point (K) Critical temperature (K) Critical pressure (kPa) GWP ODP

R123 152.93 301.0 456.8 3661.8 120 0.012

R600 58.12 272.7 425.1 3796.0 20 0

R600a 58.12 261.4 407.8 3629.0 20 0

R236ea 152.04 279.3 412.4 3502.0 1350 0

R236fa 152.04 271.7 398.1 3200.0 9400 0

R245ca 134.05 298.3 477.6 3940.7 693 0

R245fa 134.05 288.3 427.2 3651.0 950 0

Table 3

Thermodynamic results of the ORC system with different working fluids.

Working fluid Evaporation temperature (K) Evaporation pressure (kPa) Mass flow rate of the working fluid (kg/s) Viscosity at the rotor inlet (lPas)

R123 343.8 383.8 0.17 11.4

R600 346.5 873.2 0.08 7.9

R600a 348.9 1230.0 0.08 8.0

R236ea 349.8 924.2 0.17 11.7

R236fa 352.1 1216.9 0.19 11.8

R245ca 345.8 469.9 0.14 15.9

R245fa 346.9 672.9 0.15 11.1

J. Song et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 110 (2017) 318–326 323

Table 4

Initial parameters for the Tesla turbine.

Nozzle velocity coefficient u 0.9

Outer radius of the discs r1 100 mm

Inner radius of the discs r2 40 mm

Gap distance b 1 mm

Number of the gaps N 50

Rotational speed of the rotor n 8000 rpm

fluid and the viscosity at the rotor inlet. The temperature grade of

the heat source is low, which results in low evaporation tempera-

ture of the working fluids. The difference among the evaporation

^ 1 of the Tesla turbine with different working fluids.

Fig. 6. Variations of Re⁄ and W

temperatures is relatively small. However, the evaporation pres-

sure and the mass flow rate of the working fluid vary much. The

viscosity of the working fluid has an influence on the effect

between the plate and the working fluid.

As for the Tesla turbine, several initial geometry parameters are

given according to some previous researches [21,23] and are listed

in Table 4. Using the aforementioned one-dimensional model, the

efficiencies of the Tesla turbine with each kind of the working flu-

ids are calculated. The results are shown in Fig. 5. The efficiency of

the Tesla turbine with R245ca reaches 0.387, the highest among all

the working fluids. The efficiencies of the Tesla turbine with R600

and R600a are considerably low, which are only 0.346 and 0.341,

respectively. There are non-ignorable efficiency differences among

the Tesla turbines with different working fluids, which confirms

that the working fluid properties and the thermodynamic parame-

ters have an influence on the turbine performance.

The two parameters, the dimensionless parameter X and the

dimensionless inlet tangential velocity difference W ^ 1 of the Tesla Fig. 7. Thermal performance of the ORC system with different working fluids.

the results of which are shown in Fig. 6. As for X, the Tesla turbine The net power output and the thermal efficiency of the ORC sys-

with R236fa is the highest, while those with R600 and R600a are tem are simulated with the calculated Tesla turbine efficiency. The

considerably low, which is mainly related to the mass flow rate results are shown in Fig. 7. Because the total heat load absorbed is

and the viscosity of the working fluid listed in Table 3. On the con- fixed, the thermal performance of the ORC system is directly deter-

trary, the Tesla turbines with R600 and R600a yield high dimen- mined by the turbine efficiency. With R245ca as the working fluid,

^ 1 and that with the turbine efficiency is the highest. Therefore, the ORC system

sionless inlet tangential velocity difference W

with R245ca yields the highest net power output and system ther-

R236fa is the lowest. It can be concluded that a higher evaporation

mal efficiency, which are 1.25 kW and 0.04, respectively.

pressure corresponds to a low expansion ratio and lower relative

velocity, thus lower W^ 1.

4.3. Results of ORC under different conditions (ORC system with

High Tesla turbine efficiency can be attained with low X and low

R245ca)

W^ 1 . The efficiency of the Tesla turbine with R236fa is higher than

that with R600 and R600a, which indicates that W ^ 1 has a more sig-

With R245ca as the working fluid, the Tesla turbine efficiency is

nificant influence on the turbine performance than X. Since the the highest among all the working fluids. R245ca is selected as the

Tesla turbine with R245ca has both moderate X and W^ 1 , it yields working fluid in this section. The outlet temperature of the heat

the highest efficiency. source is not fixed here to obtain different operating conditions.

324 J. Song et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 110 (2017) 318–326

(a) Variation of the outlet temperature of the hot water with ^ 1 with the evaporation temperature.

Fig. 9. Variations of Re⁄ and W

the evaporation temperature of the working fluid

R245ca with the evaporation temperature Fig. 10. Variations of the Tesla turbine efficiency with the evaporation temperature.

Fig. 8. Variations of the thermal parameters of the ORC system with R245ca.

The heat load absorbed by the ORC system varies with the out-

let temperature of the hot water. For each outlet temperature of

the hot water, a proper evaporation temperature of the ORC system

can be calculated by the computer program, which is still related to

the ratio of the latent heat to the sensible heat of the working fluid.

The thermodynamic results of the ORC system with R245ca as the

working fluid are shown in Fig. 8. Fig. 8a indicates that a higher

outlet temperature of the hot water corresponds to a higher evap-

oration temperature of the working fluid. It is evident that the total

heat load absorbed decreases with the increment of the outlet tem-

perature of the hot water, while the heat load required per unit

mass of the working fluid increases as the increasing evaporation

temperature. Thus, the mass flow rate of R245ca decreases defi- Fig. 11. Power output of the Tesla turbine under different operating conditions.

nitely when the evaporation temperature increases, as shown in

Fig. 8b.

The variations of X and W ^ 1 are still calculated to investigate

lowest turbine efficiency is attained at 0.379. The difference

their influence on the Tesla turbine efficiency. As shown in Fig. 9,

between the turbine efficiencies under 335 K and 370 K evapora-

with the increment of the evaporation temperature, X decreases

tion temperature conditions is nearly 0.05, which surely has a sig-

while W ^ 1 increases. High turbine efficiency can be attained with

nificant impact on the ORC system performance.

low X and low W ^ 1 . Thus, it is not easy to directly determine how

The power outputs of the Tesla turbine under different operat-

the turbine efficiency varies with the evaporation temperature. ing conditions are shown in Fig. 11. It increases first and then

The efficiency of the Tesla turbine with R245ca under different decreases with the increment of the evaporation temperature.

conditions is shown in Fig. 10. The turbine efficiency decreases first When the evaporation equals 350 K, the Tesla turbine yields the

and then increases with the increment of the evaporation temper- highest net power output at 1.31 kW. The power output of the

ature. When the evaporation temperature is lower than 335 K, the Tesla turbine is related to the mass flow rate of the working fluid

effect of increasing W ^ 1 dominates in the decreasing turbine effi- and the specific power output. A higher evaporation temperature

ciency. When the evaporation temperature is higher than 335 K, corresponds to a higher power output per unit mass of working

the effect of decreasing X dominates in the increasing turbine fluid and mass flow rate of working fluid directly affects the total

efficiency. When the evaporation temperature equals 335 K, the power output of the ORC system. As shown in Fig. 12, the mass

J. Song et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 110 (2017) 318–326 325

the evaporation temperature is 350 K.

5. Conclusions

design in small scale ORC systems due to its simplicity and low

capital cost. This paper improves the one-dimensional model for

the Tesla turbine, which adopts a non-dimensional formulation

that identifies the dimensionless parameters that dictate perfor-

mance features of the turbine. Although the model embodies sev-

eral simplifying assumptions, its predictions are found to agree

reasonably well with available measured performance data for a

Tesla turbine from a previous research work. The model is used

Fig. 12. Working fluid mass flow rate and the specific power output of the Tesla to indicate the relationship between the turbine parameters and

turbine under different operating conditions. the turbine efficiency, which shows that the dimensionless param-

eter X and the dimensionless inlet tangential velocity difference

W^ 1 have a significant influence on the turbine performance. High

Tesla turbine efficiency is attained with low X and low W ^ 1.

This paper focuses on a small scale ORC system using a Tesla

turbine as the expander. For the heat source (hot water,

393.15 K, 0.5 t/h), when the outlet temperature is fixed at

338.15 K, the Tesla turbine with R245ca as the working fluid yields

the highest efficiency at 0.366, while the turbine efficiency with

R600 and R600a is considerably low, which are only 0.346 and

0.341, respectively. There are non-ignorable efficiency differences

among the Tesla turbines with different working fluids, which con-

firms that the working fluid properties and the thermodynamic

parameters have an influence on the Tesla turbine performance.

With R245ca as the working fluid, the ORC system yields the high-

est net power output and system thermal efficiency, which are

1.25 kW and 0.04, respectively.

Fig. 13. Variations of the power output of the ORC system with R245ca. With R245ca as the working fluid and outlet temperature of the

heat source not fixed, thermodynamic analysis of the ORC system

is conducted under different operating conditions. The Tesla tur-

bine efficiency decreases first and then increases with the incre-

ment of the evaporation temperature. The difference between the

turbine efficiencies under 335 K and 370 K evaporation tempera-

ture conditions is nearly 0.05, which surely has a significant impact

on the ORC system performance. When the evaporation equals

350 K, the ORC system yields the highest net power output at

1.27 kW and the corresponding system thermal efficiency reaches

0.043. This reveals that the ORC system with a Tesla turbine can

generate a considerable net power output and system thermal effi-

ciency in small scale applications. Therefore, the Tesla turbine can

be regarded as a potential choice in similar practical cases.

Acknowledgement

Fig. 14. Variations of the thermal efficiency of the ORC system with R245ca.

This research study was supported by the cooperative scientific

research project of energy conversion and emission reduction

among China-Europe enterprises (No. SQ2013ZOC200005).

flow rate of R245ca decreases while the specific power output

increases with the increment of the evaporation temperature,

which results in the trend of the turbine power output in Fig. 11. References

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