Working fluids for low-temperature heat source.

Author(s) : LAKEW A. A., BOLLAND O.

Type of article: Article


The performance of different working fluids to recover low-temperature heat source is studied. A simple Rankine cycle with subcritical configuration is considered. This work is to screen working fluids based on power production capability and component (heat exchanger and turbine) size requirements. Working fluids considered are R134a, R123, R227ea, R245fa, R290, and n-pentane. Energy balance is carried out to predict operating conditions of the process. Outputs of energy balance are used as input for exergy analysis and components (heat exchanger and turbine) design. The heat exchanger is divided into small intervals so that logarithmic mean temperature difference (LMTD) method is applicable. R227ea gives highest power for heat source temperature range of 80-160°C and R245fa produces the highest in the range of 160-200°C. There is optimal pressure where the heat exchanger surface area is minimum. This optimal pressure changes with heat source temperature and working fluid used. The least heat exchanger area required at constant power rating is found when the working fluid is n-pentane. At lower heat source temperature (80°C), the maximum power output and minimum heat exchanger surface area for different working fluids is comparable. [Reprinted with permission from Elsevier. Copyright, 2010].



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