International Scientific Journal


Organic Rankine cycle turbogenerators are a promising technology to transform the solar radiation harvested by solar collectors into electric power. The present work aims at sizing a small-scale organic Rankine cycle unit by tailoring its design for domestic solar applications. Stringent design criteria, i. e., compactness, high performance and safe operation, are targeted by adopting a multi-objective optimization approach modeled with the genetic algorithm. Design-point thermodynamic variables, e. g., evaporating pressure, the working fluid, minimum allowable temperature differences, and the equipment geometry, are the decision variables. Flat plate heat exchangers with herringbone corrugations are selected as heat transfer equipment for the preheater, the evaporator and the condenser. The results unveil the hyperbolic trend binding the net power output to the heat exchanger compactness. Findings also suggest that the evaporator and condenser minimum allowable temperature differences have the largest impact on the system volume and on the cycle performances. Among the fluids considered, the results indicate that R1234yf and R1234ze are the best working fluid candidates. Using flat plate solar collectors (hot water temperature equal to 75 °C), R1234yf is the optimal solution. The heat exchanger volume ranges between 6.0 and 23.0 dm3, whereas the thermal efficiency is around 4.5%. R1234ze is the best working fluid employing parabolic solar collectors (hot water temperature equal to 120 °C). In such case the thermal efficiency is around 6.9%, and the heat exchanger volume varies from 6.0 to 18.0 dm3.
PAPER REVISED: 2014-04-04
PAPER ACCEPTED: 2014-04-22
DOI REFERENCE: 10.2298/TSCI1403811B
CITATION EXPORT: view in browser or download as text file
  1. Quoilin, S., et al., Techno-Economic Survey of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) Systems, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 22 (2013), June, pp. 168-186
  2. Tchanche, B. F., et al., Fluid Selection for a Low-Temperature Solar Organic Rankine Cycle, Applied Thermal Engineering, 29 (2009), 8-9, pp. 2468-2476
  3. Quoilin, S., et al., Performance and Design Optimization of a Low-Cost Solar Organic Rankine Cycle for Remote Power Generation, Solar Energy 85, (2011), 3, pp. 955-966
  4. A. A. Lakew, O. Bolland, Working Fluids for Low-Temperature Heat Source, Applied Thermal Engineering, 30 (2010), 10, pp. 1262-1268
  5. Larsen, U., et al., Design and Optimisation of Organic Rankine Cycles for Waste Heat Recovery in Marine Applications Using the Principles of Natural Selection, Energy, 55 (2013), June, pp. 803-812
  6. Wang, J. et al., Multi-Objective Optimization of an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) for Low Grade Waste Heat Recovery Using Evolutionary Algorithm, Energy Conversion and Management, 71 (2013), pp. 146-158
  7. Pierobon, L., et al., Multi-Objective Optimization of Organic Rankine Cycles for Waste Heat Recovery: Application in an Offshore Platform, Energy, 58 (2013), Sept., pp. 538-549
  8. Trapp, C., Colonna, P., Efficiency Improvement in Precombustion CO2 Removal Units with a Waste Heat Recovery ORC Power Plant, Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power, 135 (2013), 4, pp. 1-12
  9. Wei, D., et al., Performance Analysis and Optimization of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) for Waste Heat Recovery, Energy Conversion and Management 48 (2007), 4, pp. 1113-1119
  10. Lemmon, E., et al., Refprop: Reference Fluid Thermodynamic and Transport Properties, NIST standard reference database 23, 2007
  11. Coulson, J., et al., Coulson and Richardson's Chemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Butterworth- Heinemann, Oxford, UK, 1999
  12. Shah, R. K., Sekulic, D. P., Fundamentals of Heat Exchanger Design, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, USA, 2003
  13. Han, D. H., et al., Experiments on the Characteristics of Evaporation Of R410A in Brazed Plate Heat Exchangers with Different Geometric Configurations, Applied Thermal Engineering, 23 (2003), 10, pp. 1209-1225
  14. Longo, G. A., Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop During HFC Refrigerant Saturated Vapor Condensation Inside a Brazed Plate Heat Exchanger, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 53 (2010), 5-6, pp. 1079-1087
  15. Deb, K., Multi-Objective Optimization Using Evolutionary Algorithms, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., West Sussex, Great Britain, 2001.
  16. Kuppan, T., Heat Exchanger Design Handbook, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Fla., USA, 2013
  17. Bonacina, C., et al., Heat Transfer (in Italian), Cleup, Padova, Italy, 1992

© 2017 Society of Thermal Engineers of Serbia. Published by the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Belgrade, Serbia. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International licence