Development of a 10 kW class axial impulse single stage turboexpander for a micro-CHP ORC unit
Czech Technical University in Prague, University Centre for Energy Efficient Buildings, Trinecka 1024, Bustehrad 27343, Czech Republic
2 Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Technicka 4, Praha 6, 16607, Czech Republic
3 University of Applied Sciences Amberg-Weiden, Center of Excellence for Cogeneration Technologies, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring 23, 92224 Amberg, Germany
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Published online: 11 July 2022
Development of micro ORC systems with 1-15 kW power output for micro-cogeneration and waste heat recovery at the Czech Technical University in Prague, University Centre for Energy Efficient Buildings (CTU UCEEB) has over ten years of history with many successes. These include 6 different ORC units, all with in-house designed rotary vane expanders (RVE) of many versions throughout this development. Among main advantages of the RVE belong relatively simple and robust design at low cost even at very small series of single-unit production and all that with acceptable efficiency. The ORC units operate with hexamethyldisiloxane (MM) working fluid at high pressure ratios and expansion ratios and the isentropic efficiency of RVE has a limit at these conditions around 60%, often however only at values around 50%. While this might be enough on a cost side for commercialization of this technology, in pursuit of higher efficiency solutions, different expander technology needs to be selected. A turbo-expander is a logical choice with prospect of higher efficiency. At the same time, a literature review has found a lack of reported detailed experimental data for micro (5-50 kW) turbo-expanders, possibly hindering global development towards economically feasible solutions. A project named Dexpand, “Optimised expanders for small-scale distributed energy systems” aims at these issues by objectives in designing, optimizing, manufacturing and testing several ORC expanders with MM and isobutane and their subsequent performance mapping and comparison. One major task is a design of a turboexpander for a 120 kWth biomass fired microcogeneration ORC unit currently operated at the CTU UCEEB. An axial impulse single stage turboexpander was selected as a suitable choice, providing a prospect of a decent efficiency at technically manageable rotational speed and size. This paper provides a detail of currently performed design activities, starting from boundary conditions specification, over development and optimization of a 1D model, preliminary 2D CFD calculations and finishing in a state of a robust and detailed 3D CFD model with a real gas model. Note that the working fluid, high molar mass organic vapour, is highly non-ideal in its behaviour and the flow conditions with pressure design ratio around 13 is highly supersonic (nozzle outlet isentropic Mach number exceeds 2). The current results based on 3D CFD indicate a prospect of an isentropic efficiency 71% at mechanical power output of 11 kW. Lastly, ongoing and future work is outlined, which includes aerodynamic optimization based on the developed 3D CFD model and construction design of the entire turbine assembly.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2022
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