ORC Scroll Turbine and its Applications for Micro Power Generation

October 17, 2002 - 12:00pm
Bldg. 90
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Electricity generation from low temperature heat sources generally imply the use of so-called organic fluids working in Rankine cycles equipped with vapour turbines or expanders. Hence the name of Organic Rankine cycles (ORC) used in this context. Such systems are already used in the industrial sector, mainly in geothermal power plants, but only for medium and large power range (some hundreds of kWe and more). Regarding small-scale applications (<100 kW), only a few studies have been initiated. The main limitations in the power range are the unavailability of turbines or expanders with adequate efficiencies. Economic considerations also considerably restrain the possibility to use dedicated technological developments with high specific costs considering the low initial production quantities. Those are the considerations that motivated the utilization of a new innovation concept based on hermetic volumetric expanders such as ”scroll turbines”. These turbines are in fact based on the modification of actual hermetic compressors, produced at large scale for refrigeration and air-conditioning worldwide, hence with low specific costs. To demonstrate the feasibility of the scroll compressor conversion, a 12 kW-ORC scroll prototype has been built in the previous works and tested for different type of scroll units. Results have shown a turbine's global isentropic efficiency of about 70% and an overall ORC cycle efficiency of about 15% at this relatively low supply temperature (up to 165 deg.C). This technology can provide electric power in a range of 3 kW up to 50 kW and could be suitable for various applications including low temperature waste heat recovery, valorization of exhaust gases, microcogeneration, and renewable energy. Integrated ORC scroll can be competitive with other options of power generation units. The estimated levelized electricity cost  (LEC) range from 4 to 20¢/kWh depending on the size of plant and the type of application even if the cost per kW is ranged between $1,500 to $2,500/kW at this earlier work.Mr. Malick Kane is a post-doc visitor in the department of engineering (LBNL). He created the EnefTech core concept while completing his PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). His previous work experience has been with the Laboratory of Industrial Energy (LENI) of the Department of Mechanics at EPFL, and as a project engineer in STUCKY consulting engineers (Switzerland).  He has worked on several engineering projects involving co-generation systems, solar power systems, desalination power plant systems, and most importantly the organic rankine cycle (ORC) scroll project, which led to the development of the EnefTech core energy system.  Mr. Kane has authored and co-authored several scientific papers on his work since 1995. While developing sustainable energy systems, based on solar thermal, solar/fossil, bio-gas motor and ORC units, to name a few, he has developed extensive project management experience, as well as thermo-mechanical engineering expertise, including solar energy systems expertise.

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