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Energy 65 (2014) 91e100

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Thermodynamic analysis of an organic Rankine cycle for waste heat

recovery from gas turbines
Carlo Carcasci*, Riccardo Ferraro, Edoardo Miliotti
DIEF: Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Florence, Via Santa Marta, 3, 50139 Florence, Italy

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

Article history: The use of an organic Rankine cycle is a promising choice for the recovery of waste heat at low/medium
Received 11 April 2013 temperatures. In fact, the low temperature heat discharged in several industrial applications cannot be
Received in revised form recovered with a traditional bottomer steam cycle but, using an organic Rankine cycle, this waste heat
18 October 2013
can be converted into electrical energy. The choice of the fluid is fundamental for a good cycle perfor-
Accepted 29 November 2013
mance because the optimal thermophysical properties depend on the source temperature. This study
Available online 6 January 2014
illustrates the results of the simulations of an organic Rankine cycle combined with a gas turbine in order
to convert the gas turbine waste heat into electrical power. A diathermic oil circuits interposed between
Organic Rankine cycle
these two plants for safety reasons. This paper presents a comparison between four different working
Gas turbine fluids in order to identify the best choice. The selected fluids are: toluene, benzene, cyclopentane and
Combined cycle cyclohexane. The design is performed by means of a sensitivity analysis of the main process parameters
Waste heat recovery and the organic Rankine cycle is optimized by varying the main pressure of the fluid at different tem-
peratures of the oil circuit; moreover, the possible use of a superheater is investigated for each fluid in
order to increase electrical power.
Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction proved to be an attractive solution, indeed it is one of the most

promising technologies for converting low/medium grade heat into
In the last decades, the global demand for energy has grown electrical power. Thermodynamic analysis and working fluid se-
steadily and consequently the consumption of fossil fuels has lection have become the main topics in recent years. Waste heat
increased. This, in turn, has led to several environmental problems recovery ORCs have been studied in a number of previous works:
such as air pollution, global warming and the depletion of the Badr et al. [5], Gu et al. [6], Dai et al. [7] used simple thermodynamic
ozone layer. Furthermore, according to several studies [1,2], in- models comparing different working fluids. These studies illustrate
dustrial applications waste more than 50% of the total heat gener- the reliance of efficiency on the evaporating pressure and some
ated at a low/medium temperature. In recent years the number of present a parametric optimization and performance analysis of
installations of small/medium-sized power plants has increased waste heat recovery from low grade sources [7e10]. Advanced cycle
due to the outsourcing of generation systems. Aeroderivative gas configurations have been studied as well: Gnutek et al. [11] pro-
turbines present a high thermodynamic efficiency and a low/me- posed an ORC cycle with multiple pressure levels and sliding vane
dium temperature waste heat and the conversion of low grade expansion machines in order to maximize the efficiency of the heat
waste heat into electrical energy results in a reduction of fossil fuels source. Chen et al. [12] studied a transcritical CO2 power cycle. The
consumption. The traditional steam bottoming cycles do not different use of several ORC bottoming cycles has been analyzed:
perform satisfactorily when waste heat at low/medium tempera- solar applications [13e15], geothermal heat sources [16,17], high
ture is used due to its low thermal efficiency and large volume temperature fuel cells [18] and heat recovery from gas turbines.
flows. Other power plant configurations were studied, i.e. Carcasci Chacartegui et al. [19,20] showed a parametric optimization of a
et al. [3,4] have studied the CRGT (Chemical Recuperated Gas Tur- combined cycle with a gas turbine topping cycle and an ORC low
bine) cycle. The ORC (organic Rankine cycle) power plant has temperature bottoming cycle in order to achieve better integration
between these two technologies and they presented a part-load
Organic fluids are classified into three different categories
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ39 055 4796245.
E-mail addresses:,
depending on the slope of their saturation vapor curves in the T-s
(C. Carcasci). diagram: fluids with a negative slope are called “wet fluids”, fluids

0360-5442/$ e see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
92 C. Carcasci et al. / Energy 65 (2014) 91e100

Nomenclature gb gearbox
GT gas turbine
c specific heat [kJ/kg K] in inlet
L specific work [kJ/kg] is isentropic
m mass flow rate [kg/s] lim limit
Mm molar mass max maximum
P pressure [bar] oil oil
Q heat [kW] opt optimized
s entropy [kJ/kg K] pp pinch point
T temperature [ C] pump pump
W power [kW] rec reuperator
Wsp specific Power [kJ/kg] sat saturation
s,max saturation curve with maximum entropy
Greek symbols st stack
h efficiency sub subcooling
r density [kg/m3]
Subscripts CON condenser
air air in ambient condition CRGT chemical recuperated gas turbine
amb ambient ECO economizer
app approach EV evaporator
con condenser EX expander
cr fluid critical condition GT gas turbine
ec economizer HRB hot gaseoil heat recovery boiler
el electric HRSG oil-fluid heat recovery steam generator
ex expander ORC organic Rankine cycle
exh exhaust from gas turbine REC recuperator/regenerator
fl organic fluid SH superheater

with a positive slope are called “dry fluids” and fluids whose slope regenerator has been selected and the use of a superheater has
of the saturated vapor curve tends to be infinitive are called been evaluated for each working fluid.
“isentropic fluids”. Lai et al. [21] and Sahleh et al. [22] presented a Generally, working fluids used for an organic Rankine cycle are
detailed review of working fluids for a low and high temperature highly flammable, therefore a diathermic oil circuit between the
organic Rankine cycle and cyclopentane seems to be the best heat source and the ORC is needed to prevent explosions. Common
answer for a high temperature organic Rankine cycle. Vankeirsbilck commercial diathermic oils can reach up to 400  C [32]; thus, in
et al. [23] showed a high efficiency regenerative cycle based on order to determine the influence of the heat transfer recovery on
toluene. According to Chacartegui et al. [19], toluene and cyclo- the cycle power output, the cycle is simulated at three different
hexane present high global efficiency in a gas turbine combined maximum temperatures of the diathermic oil: Toil,max ¼ TB ¼ 360  C,
cycle and a low purchase cost of the fluid. Chacartegui et al. [19] 380  C and 400  C.
analyzed toluene and cyclohexane and concluded these working Finally, a cycle optimization is presented by varying the
fluids are a good solution to replace steam in small sized combined expander inlet pressure. The gas turbine considered is the GE10-1
cycles. They highlight how an increase in combined cycle efficiency from General Electric e Nuovo Pignone which is a heavy duty
with respect to the steam cycle would compensate for the fluid single shaft turbine used for oil and gas or power generation ap-
acquisition. Other works presented some applications based on the plications [33]. The main GE10-1 specifications are shown in
use of toluene [24e26]. Victor et al. [27] studied organic Rankine Table 1.
cycles and Kalina cycles for the heat sources at temperatures be-
tween 100  C and 250  C. 2. Working fluids
In particular, Carcasci et Ferraro [28] showed that a gas turbine
cycle combined with an organic Rankine cycle based on toluene Four different dry working fluids have been tested: toluene,
offers the best conditions in a regenerative non-superheated layout benzene, cyclopentane and cyclohexane. NIST (National Institute of
and also that a higher value of the maximum oil temperature allows Standards and Technology) software has been used to simulate the
to recover more heat and to produce more power, although this behavior of these working fluids. The thermodynamic properties of
may lead to the formation of acid condensate due to the very low the selected fluids are obtained at the critical point values in terms
stack temperature. Bianchi et al. [28] described benzene as one of of both pressure and temperature, which are shown in Table 2. The
the working fluids with the highest bottoming cycle power and last column illustrates the pressure where the vapor saturation
total heat recovery efficiency. Tchanche et al. [29] studied low- entropy has reached the maximum value. In a plant layout without
temperature solar organic Rankine cycle systems. He et al. [30]
studied a subcritical organic Rankine cycle using 22 working Table 1
fluids for a 150  C temperature heat source. GE10-1 main specification [33].
In the present paper, four different working fluids have been WGT hGT mGT TGT
used to simulate an organic Rankine cycle: toluene, benzene,
11,250 kW 31.4% 47.5 kg/s 482  C
cyclopentane and cyclohexane. A thermodynamic cycle with a
C. Carcasci et al. / Energy 65 (2014) 91e100 93

Table 2
Thermodynamic properties of selected working fluids.

Working fluid Tcr [ C] Pcr [bar] Mm [g mol1] Ps,max [bar]

Toluene 318.6 41.1 92.14 36.0

Benzene 288.8 48.9 78.10 37.5
Cyclopentane 238.6 44.3 70.13 34.7
Cyclohexane 281.0 40.7 84.16 35.9

superheater, if the working pressure exceeds this value, the

expansion line can present wet vapor, causing problems to the
expander. Toluene has the highest critical temperature and mo-
lecular weight, while cyclopentane has the lowest. The maximum
critical pressure is reached by benzene and the minimum by
cyclohexane. Fig. 2. ORC power plant layout.
Cyclohexane has the highest value with regard to the slope of
the saturation vapor curve. Toluene and cyclopentane show
approximately the same gradients, while benzene has the lowest The heat transfer of the hot gas from the gas turbine to the
values. Although cyclohexane is more curved than toluene, the organic fluid occurs through an intermediary diathermic oil circuit,
latter presents the highest entropy variation, considering a range interposed for safety reasons.
between the entropy value which corresponds to the saturation The plant layout presents one pressure level boiler with a SH
temperature (Tsat ¼ 50  C) and the maximum entropy value. The (superheater) and an internal heat exchanger (recuperator REC) in
slope of the saturation vapor curve is an important parameter order to increase the system efficiency [21]. The hot exhaust gas
because it influences the behavior of the recuperator. Another heats the diathermic oil in the first heat recovery unit (HRB). In the
important parameter which influences the behavior of the second loop, the hot oil passes through the second heat recovery
condenser is the saturation pressure; Fig. 1 shows its dependence unit, composed by a SH (superheater), an EV (evaporator) and an
on the saturation temperature. At a fixed temperature, cyclo- ECO (economizer), where the organic fluid is heated and enters in
pentane shows the highest saturation pressure, while toluene an EX (expander). The exhaust fluid exchanges heat in the REC
shows the lowest. Benzene and cyclohexane present intermediate (recuperator), thus it heats the condensed fluid. Finally, the organic
values, but cyclohexane has the lowest limit pressure, while ben- fluid is cooled in an air-cooled CON (condenser) and pressurized in
zene presents the highest. a pump. This particular type of condenser has been chosen
These considerations are significant not only because the considering that the plant location is a waterless area.
maximum oil temperature can be used as a reference for the
maximum organic fluid temperature but also because its pressure 4. Thermodynamic and design approach
level can be determined (see Fig. 1). Moreover, for the same reasons,
the condenser pressure changes for each fluid. In the HRB (hot gaseoil heat recovery boiler) recovery unit the
temperature and the flow rate of hot gas (mGT, TGT. See Table 1) from
the gas turbine are fixed as well as the pinch point and the
3. Power plant layout maximum temperature oil (TB ¼ Toil,max). Thanks to the energy
balance in the HRB, the return oil temperature is initialized, thus
The power plant considered is a combined gas turbine topping the oil mass flow rate (moil) and the stack hot gas temperature (Tst)
cycle and a subcritical organic Rankine bottoming cycle. Fig. 2 are determined using the pinch point temperature difference
shows the power plant layout of the bottoming cycle. (DTpp,HRB: Tst ¼ Toil,out þ DTpp,HRB ¼ TA þ DTpp,HRB / moil/
mGT,exh ¼ cg$(TGT,exh  Tst)/[coil$(TB  TA)]).
Fixing the inlet expander pressure (P1) and the approach tem-
perature difference (DTapp ¼ TB  T1 e if SH is present), both the
working fluid maximum temperature (Tex,in ¼ T1: without
280 SH / T1 ¼ Tsat(P1); with SH / T1 ¼ Toil,max  DTapp) and its mass
flow rate (mfl) can be calculated once the pinch point temperature
240 difference (DTpp ¼ TD(T7 þ DTsub)) by exploiting the energy bal-
ance in the SH and EV.
When considering the air condenser, the discharge pressure at
Tsat [°C]

the expander exit (P2) can be determined: the saturated tempera-

ture of the organic fluid (Tsat) and consequently its pressure
120 Benzene (Pcon ¼ P3) are evaluated by fixing the pinch point temperature
Cyclopentane difference (DTpp,con ¼ Tsat  Tair,out) and the ambient air temperature
80 Cyclohexane (Tair,in). By fixing the difference of the cooling air temperatures in
the condenser (DTair,con ¼ Tair,out  Tair,in), the air mass flow rate is
determined and thus the fan absorbed power (Wfan) can be
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 44 48 Considering the expander inlet conditions, the discharge pres-
sure (Pcon ¼ P3) and fixing the expander isentropic efficiency
P [bar]
(hex ¼ Lex/Lex,is), both the output power (Wex ¼ mfl$Lex) and the
Fig. 1. Saturation temperature of organic fluid versus pressure. working fluid exhaust conditions can be evaluated.
94 C. Carcasci et al. / Energy 65 (2014) 91e100

The energy balance equations are used in the recuperator, and

the pinch point temperature difference (DTpp,rec) is fixed in order to 3400
evaluate the inlet conditions of the condenser and of the organic
fluid at the HRSG. The no-boiling phenomena must be verified in- 3200
side the recuperator. If this event occurs, the pinch point temper-
ature difference of the recuperator (DTpp,rec) must be increased.
By exploiting the energy balance in the economizer of the HRSG,

Wel tot [kW]

the oil TE (exhaust temperature) is determined (a DTsub is consid-
ered in order to prevent premature boiling in the economizer). This 2800

data is necessary in order to calculate the energy balance in the oil

HRB (see above). 2600
Finally, using the fluid mass flow rate and the specific work of ΔT =40°C - No SH
the expander, the output power can be determined: 2400 Toluene
 DPcon; air Cyclopentane
Wel; tot ¼ hgb $hel $mfl $ Lex  Lpump  mcon; air $ (1) Cyclohexane
rair 2200
15 20 25 30 35 40

The authors developed an in-house code able to perform Pex in [bar]

thermo-dynamical simulations of the proposed power plant. The
code is developed in ANSI Standard of the FORTRAN 90 program- Fig. 3. Net electrical power with and without superheater versus inlet expander
ming language and the elementary energy balances are validated
with a commercial code.
presents a maximum point (about Pex,in,max ¼ 23.0 bar). Victor et al.
5. Simulation results [27] and Tchanche et al. [29] obtained similar results, but the
temperature of their analysis was lower (maximum 250  C). The
5.1. Superheater evaluation non-superheater configuration is the most appropriate, (except
with cyclopentane where the use of the superheater is convenient
The use of an ORC plant scheme with or without a superheater is in terms of power); this can be explained considering the saturation
a significant choice and depends on the selected working fluid and curve of toluene: the low critical temperature and the low value of
on the thermal source temperature. According to Bianchi et al. [31], the slope gradient allow to improve the performance without a
the selection of adequate organic fluids represents a key factor to superheater. However, the range of operability is very limited and
maximize the ORC thermodynamic performance, which can be the produced power is the lowest among the selected fluids (15%
significant, as shown in this study, even if a small sized turbine is lower than cyclohexane). Only in the case of toluene, the maximum
used. Thus, in some papers [34e36] the ORC is shown with a su- net power does not correspond to the maximum operability pres-
perheater, while in others it is presented as a non-superheated sure (Pex,in ¼ 26.13 bar); however, using the maximum inlet
cycle [19,20]. Carcasci et Ferraro [28] show an organic Rankine expander pressure (Ps,max ¼ 36.0 bar), the net power decreases by
cycle without a superheater as the best configuration for a toluene only about 1% with respect to the optimum value. The expander
based cycle. For this reason, a sensibility analysis has been con- power is due to the contribution of the specific work of the
ducted evaluating the possibility of whether or not to use a su- expander and the fluid mass flow rate.
perheater for each fluid, by fixing the maximum oil temperature The specific work of the expander increases with the working
(Toil,max ¼ TB ¼ 380  C) and the approach temperature difference in fluid pressure (Fig. 4), in fact the expander pressure ratio grows. In
the superheater (DTapp ¼ 40  C) and consequently by varying the the non-superheater configuration, the maximum values are
fluid pressure. Table 3 shows the values imposed for the thermo- reached by toluene, while benzene and cyclohexane present rather
dynamic analysis. equal values and cyclopentane the lowest. These values can be
Fig. 3 shows the net electrical power with and without a su-
perheater, varying the maximum pressure of the different organic
fluids. By analyzing the layout with the superheater and fixing
DTapp, an increase in the fluid pressure leads to a rise in output 200
power. Sun et al. [38] present similar results: higher expander inlet
pressure generates, on average, more net power, but the expander
inlet pressure depends on the working fluid property. To maximize
the net power generation, both the optimal relative working fluid
mass flow rate and the optimal condenser fan air mass flow rate
Lex [kJ/kg]

increase with the heat source temperature increasing. Only toluene
Table 3
Power plant parameters used for the thermodynamic analysis.

Parameter Value Parameter Value 120

ΔT =40°C - No SH
Toil,max ¼ TB 380.0  C hel 0.96 Toluene
Pex,in ¼ P1 36.0 bar Tair,in 15.0  C Benzene
hHRB 0.98 DTair,con 20.0  C CycloPentane
DTpp,HRB 10.0  C DTpp,con 20.0  C
DTapp 30.0  C DPcon,air 2.0% 15 20 25 30 35 40
DTpp 8.0  C DTpp,rec 15.0  C Pex in [bar]
hex 0.85 DTsub 15.0  C
hgb 0.98 hpump 0.70
Fig. 4. Specific power produced by expander versus inlet expander pressure.
C. Carcasci et al. / Energy 65 (2014) 91e100 95





mfl [kg/s]

ΔT =40°C - No SH
Toluene 3000
24 CycloHexane 2000 ΔT =40°C - No SH
1000 Benzene
20 CycloHexane
15 20 25 30 35 40
15 20 25 30 35 40
Pex,in [bar]
Pex in [bar]
Fig. 7. Recuperator heat exchanged versus inlet expander pressure with and without
Fig. 5. Organic fluid mass flow rate versus expander inlet pressure with and without

understood when considering the saturation pressure (Fig. 1), in saturation vapor curve increases, too. The heat exchanged in the
fact with the same condenser temperature the minimum superheater is the highest when cyclopentane is used, because,
condenser pressure is obtained using toluene. When the super- when the saturation temperature is fixed, both the pressure (Fig. 1)
heater is present, the same trends are present; obviously the spe- and the critical point (Table 2) are low. Fig. 7 shows that the heat
cific work increases with respect to the configuration without a exchanged in the recuperator is greater with a superheater; in fact,
superheater, because the expander uses a superheated fluid and so the exhaust organic fluid temperature from the expander is higher
the inlet expander enthalpy grows. Moreover, in the superheater in this case. The approach difference temperature (DTapp, so the
layout the effects of the condenser pressure are influenced, so inlet expander temperature) and the conditions at the condenser
toluene shows to be the fluid leading to the maximum expander are both fixed. A rise in pressure leads to a decrease in the recu-
specific work. perator inlet temperature and therefore the heat recovery is lower
The organic fluid mass flow rate (Fig. 5) tends to decrease with at least until the maximum entropy value is reached. In a non-
pressure and, contrary to the specific work of the expander, greater superheated layout, a rise in pressure leads to an increase in
values are shown in the layout without a superheater. In fact, due to recuperator inlet temperature, so the barely increasing heat
the superheater the fluid enthalpy increases, but the mass flow rate exchanged is explained. In Fig. 8, the Tes diagram of benzene
decreases because the heat exchanged across the diathermic oil thermodynamic cycle is shown as an example to observe the var-
circuit is concentrated into an evaporator whose pinch point is iations of the REC (recuperator) inlet temperature. Cyclopentane
fixed. Cyclopentane presents the highest values and toluene the and cyclohexane present a greater energy recovery capacity when
lowest, while benzene and cyclohexane show about the same value the superheater is considered. In a non-superheater layout, the
which lies between the other two organic fluids. recovered heat is lower for cyclopentane and benzene and higher
The heat exchanged in the superheater (Fig. 6) decreases by for toluene and cyclohexane. In fact, the saturation curve gradient
raising the pressure, in fact the dry vapor enthalpy on the




QSH [kW]



2000 ΔT =40°C
1000 CycloPentane
15 20 25 30 35 40 45
Pex in [bar]

Fig. 6. Superheater heat exchanged between oil and organic flow versus inlet Fig. 8. Benzene thermodynamic cycle with and without superheater and for two
expander pressure. different pressures.
96 C. Carcasci et al. / Energy 65 (2014) 91e100

10000 260

ΔT =40°C - No SH
200 Toluene
6000 ΔT =40°C - No SH Benzene

Toluene CycloPentane

Tst [°C]
Benzene 180 CycloHexane
4000 CycloHexane


15 20 25 30 35 40
15 20 25 30 35 40
Pex,in [bar] Pex in [bar]

Fig. 9. Economizer heat exchanged versus inlet expander pressure with and without Fig. 11. Stack temperature versus inlet expander pressure with and without
superheater. superheater.

of cyclohexane is higher and so the expansion line from the dry superheater layout (lower heat exchanged in the recuperator), TE
saturation curve ends in the superheated zone. is lower and thus the hot gas exchanges a greater amount of heat
Fig. 9 shows the heat exchanged in the economizer, which tends with the oil in the HRB. However, the stack temperature (Fig. 11)
to increase with pressure because due to the higher saturation decreases and therefore, acid corrosion may happen.
conditions. The heat exchanged is higher for toluene; it is obvious Without a superheater, the cycle needs an upper pressure limit
considering its saturation conditions (Fig. 1). With the superheater, (Plim ¼ Ps,max), because if the fluid pressure is higher than the
the heat exchanged decreases because the recovered heat inside pressure where the entropy of the saturation condition is
the recuperator increases (Fig. 8). In the case of low inlet pressure, maximum, the organic fluid enters in the wet vapor region during
the exhaust organic fluid from the expander presents a high expansion which leads to a two-phase flow. The maximum working
enthalpy level, so the heat recovered in the recuperator can reach a pressure for each liquid is shown in Table 2.
condition of saturation in the cold side and the heat exchanged in Table 4 shows the optimal working pressure and the maximum
the economizer tends to become zero; in this case, the recuperator net power for each fluid when the maximum oil temperature is
pinch point (DTpp,rec) must be increased, otherwise the boiling
phenomenon in the recuperator occurs. Thus, with a superheater,
an inferior limit in terms of working pressure should be fixed Table 4
which, however, reduces its operability range. Optimized condition for oil maximum temperature of 380  C.

When a superheater is used, the oil mass flow rate is higher Fluid SH Wmax [kW] Popt [bar]
(Fig. 10), because the heat recovery in the recuperator increases and Toluene No 3432.4 26.13
therefore, the heat transferred by the oil into the economizer de- Benzene No 3397.6 37.5
creases, and the TE (exhaust oil temperature) grows. In the no- Cyclopentane Yes 2935.7 45.0
Cyclohexane No 3273.1 35.90

35 3800
360 - 380 - 400 <= T
Toluene (No SH)
34 3600 Benzene (No SH)
CycloPentane (SH)
CycloHexane (No SH)
33 3400
moil [kg/s]

Wel tot [kW]

ΔT =40°C - No SH
32 Toluene 3200
31 3000

30 2800

29 2600
15 20 25 30 35 40 20 25 30 35 40 45
Pex,in [bar] Pex,in [bar]

Fig. 10. Oil mass flow rate versus inlet expander pressure with and without Fig. 12. Net electrical power versus inlet expander pressure of fluid varying maximum
superheater. oil temperature and fluid.
C. Carcasci et al. / Energy 65 (2014) 91e100 97

200 38


180 32

Wsp ex [kJ/kg]


ΔTsub [°C]
360 - 380 - 400 <= T
160 26 Toluene (No SH)
Benzene (No SH)
24 CycloPentane (SH)
150 CycloHexane (No SH)
360 - 380 - 400 <= T
140 20
Toluene (No SH)
Benzene (No SH) 18
130 CycloPentane (SH)
CycloHexane (No SH) 16
120 14
20 25 30 35 40 45 20 25 30 35 40 45
Pex in [bar] Pex,in [bar]

Fig. 13. Expander specific power versus inlet expander pressure of fluid varying Fig. 15. Subcooling temperature difference in economizer versus inlet expander
maximum oil temperature and fluid. pressure of fluid varying maximum oil temperature and fluid.

Toil,max ¼ 380  C. Toluene is the best choice with the lowest optimal temperature limit earlier. In fact, benzene shows about the same
pressure. With Benzene, the maximum net power is about 1% lower net power values for maximum oil temperatures higher than 370  C
than with toluene, but the pressure level increases sharply. The and cyclohexane is not affected by oil temperature variations. Dai
worst choice is cyclopentane, with the minimum net power (about et al. [7] show how it is not always true that the higher the turbine
14.5% lower than toluene), a high pressure level and with a inlet temperature, the greater the turbine power output. For the
superheater. working fluids with a positive slope of the saturation vapor curves,
the turbine inlet temperature should be kept as low as possible
5.2. Maximum oil temperature analysis above the boiling point.
The expander power output is given by the organic fluid mass
In Section 5.1 the effect of the presence of the superheater has flow rate and by the enthalpy difference. As shown in Fig. 13, the
been studied. Toluene, benzene and cyclohexane work best without specific power of the expander reaches higher values for higher
a superheater, while cyclopentane works best with a superheater. pressure values. Using cyclopentane, where the superheater is
Quoilin et al. [37] illustrated the influence of the maximum oil present, the specific power increases with the maximum oil tem-
temperature and research the best condition for each fluid. perature and thus with the superheater exit temperature. For the
Fig. 12 presents the influence of the inlet expander pressure on other fluids (non-superheater configuration) the enthalpy differ-
the net electrical power for several maximum oil temperatures for ence in the expander is constant with the oil temperature varia-
each organic fluid. Generally, power increases with pressure; for tions because the temperature inlet expander is fixed by the
toluene, considering that the oil temperature is lower than 380  C, a saturation temperature which depends on the pressure level.
maximum point is present. The net power produced using toluene In the case without a superheater, when increasing the oil
is very sensitive to oil temperature variations, while its influence is maximum temperature, the organic fluid mass flow rate tends to
much less marked for the other fluids because they reach the grow (Fig. 14), until the maximum mass flow rate value is reached


34 240

32 220
360 - 380 - 400 <= T
Toluene (No SH)
30 200 Benzene (No SH)
CycloPentane (SH)
mfl [kg/s]

CycloHexane (No SH)

Tst [°C]

28 180

26 160

24 140
360 - 380 - 400 <= T
Toluene (No SH)
22 Benzene (No SH) 120
CycloPentane (SH)
CycloHexane (No SH)
20 25 30 35 40 45
20 25 30 35 40 45
Pex,in [bar] Pex,in [bar]

Fig. 14. Organic fluid mass flow rate versus inlet expander pressure of fluid varying Fig. 16. Stack temperature versus inlet expander pressure of fluid varying maximum
maximum oil temperature and fluid. oil temperature and fluid.
98 C. Carcasci et al. / Energy 65 (2014) 91e100

12000 500

450 Pex,in =35. bar

400. | 360. | T oil,max
8000 Oil

360 - 380 - 400 <= T 300 Fluid (REC)


T [°C]
Toluene (No SH)
Benzene (No SH)
CycloPentane (SH) 250
CycloHexane (No SH)

2000 150

20 25 30 35 40 45 50
Pex,in [bar] 0 5000 10000 15000 20000
Q [kW]
Fig. 17. Heat exchanged in economizer versus inlet expander pressure of fluid varying
maximum oil temperature and fluid. Fig. 19. Temperature of fluid versus exchanged heat in heat exchangers for benzene
(without superheater) for two different maximum oil temperatures.

due to the oil thermal capacity. Using toluene, the maximum oil
capacity is not reached and so the fluid mass flow rate is sensible to the evaporator pinch point temperature difference DTpp; in this
the maximum oil temperature, whereas using cyclohexane for each case, the fluid mass flow rate must be limited.
case the limit is reached. The fluid mass flow rate decreases when The stack temperature (Fig. 16) is an indication of heat recovery
the pressure grows because the saturation temperature rises and from the GT exhaust gases. In a non-superheater layout, a lower
the recovery heat in the evaporator decreases. Unlike toluene, the stack temperature is shown for higher values of maximum oil
cyclopentane mass flow rate is quite constant under pressure var- temperature and expander inlet pressure. On the contrary, the
iations and decreases when the oil temperature increases. The mass trend is reversed when there is a superheater (when cyclopentane
flow rates of benzene and cyclohexane, on the other hand, are in- is used). The stack temperature depends on the working conditions
dependent from maximum oil temperature variations, because, by of the economizer, which, in turn, depends on the conditions of the
executing an energy balance in the economizer, the exhaust oil recuperator. The recovered heat in the economizer is shown in
from the evaporator does not have the sufficient heat for the Fig. 17, where the exchanged heat is quite low when cyclopentane is
organic fluid to meet the evaporator imposed inlet conditions (a used and so the high stack temperature observed is justified. At low
DTsub ¼ 15  C was imposed, see Table 3). Thus, the subcooling maximum pressure values the economizer is unnecessary and,
temperature difference increases (Fig. 15) and, consequently, the actually, the heat recovery in the recuperator is very high, as shown
exchanged heat in the economizer decreases. The evaporator has to in Fig. 18.
process a colder fluid and, for this reason, the mass flow rate is fixed Fig. 19 points out the increase of heat exchanged in the evapo-
at the maximum value the hot oil can generate. In the present rator because of the greater fluid mass flow rate and the increase of
study, the economizer subcooling temperature difference DTsub has the subcooling temperature difference for benzene. Changing the
been modified, but equivalent results can be obtained by increasing maximum oil temperature, the oil curve becomes sharper because

450 Pex,in =35. bar
400. | 360. | Toil max
350 Oil
300 Fluid (REC)

T [°C]



2000 150
360 - 380 - 400 <= T
Toluene (No SH)
Benzene (No SH) 100
CycloPentane (SH)
CycloHexane (No SH)
0 50
20 25 30 35 40 45 0 5000 10000 15000 20000
Pex,in [bar] Q [kW]

Fig. 18. Heat exchanged in recuperator versus inlet expander pressure of fluid varying Fig. 20. Temperature of fluid versus exchanged heat in heat exchangers for cyclo-
maximum oil temperature and fluid. pentane (with superheater) for two different maximum oil temperatures.
C. Carcasci et al. / Energy 65 (2014) 91e100 99

3800 superheated vapor region enabling a regeneration to improve

thermal efficiency; in this study, toluene is highly influenced by the
maximum oil temperature, but it proves to be the best organic fluid
3600 among those selected for temperatures higher than 380  C. On the
contrary, cyclopentane is the worst fluid in terms of performance.
In the cases of benzene, cyclohexane and cyclopentane the
3400 maximum power is generated at the maximum allowed pressure
Wmax [kW]

and their performance is not greatly influenced by the oil tem-

perature. It is, in fact, the oil working temperature which best in-
3200 Toluene dicates the fluid to be selected: cyclohexane is the best fluid for low
Benzene oil temperature (below 363  C), benzene is the best choice when
the oil temperature is approximately between 363  C and 378  C
3000 and toluene is the best for higher oil temperatures.

2800 6. Conclusion
360 365 370 375 380 385 390 395 400
Toil max [°C] The present paper has investigated a potential organic Rankine
Fig. 21. Maximum net power versus maximum oil temperature for different organic In Section 5.1, a thermodynamic analysis has been conducted by
selecting the best configuration for several working fluids (toluene,
benzene, cyclohexane and cyclopentane). The use of a superheater
its mass flow rate decreases. Furthermore, the stack temperature has been evaluated to transfer the working fluid into the super-
(last point in the hot gas line) is higher when the maximum oil heated zone. Some organic fluids (toluene, benzene and cyclo-
temperature decreases because the oil curve is not as sharp and so hexane) perform best without the superheater, while cyclopentane
the exhaust oil temperature decreases. Likewise, Fig. 20 shows the performs best with the superheater, although its performance
case of cyclopentane: there is an excessive preheating in the output is the worst. Benzene, cyclohexane and cyclopentane pre-
recuperator and thus, the heat exchanged in the economizer is sent the optimal working pressure at the maximum value
lower; the stack temperature and the oil temperature at the HRB permitted.
inlet are higher; the subcooling temperature difference is constant In Section 5.2, an analysis has been carried out by varying the
with the imposed value (DTsub ¼ 15  C). maximum oil temperature and selecting the best configuration for
For each maximum oil temperature a maximum power corre- each fluid. Generally, by increasing the oil temperature the net
sponding to an optimum pressure can be evaluated (Figs. 21 and power increases (particularly, using toluene) until the heat recov-
22). The optimum pressure is the pressure value relative to the ery oil capacity limit is reached.
maximum power output, considering the critical pressure Pcr as an Which organic fluid performs best depends on the oil working
upper limit for cyclopentane (the superheater is present) and Ps,max temperature: cyclohexane is the best fluid for low oil temperature,
when the superheater is not present, as explained in Section 5.1. benzene is the best choice for medium oil temperature and toluene
These figures permit to determine the optimum power plant con- should be used for high oil temperature.
ditions for each working fluid when the oil properties are known.
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