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Capturing Waste Heat with Organic Rankine Cycle Systems

By Robert Crowe, Contributor
January 24, 2011   |   8 Comments
ORC companies compete for U.S. marketshare.

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8 Reader Comments
1 of 8
January 24, 2011
Why not give electricity from waste heat the same tax status as wind generated electricity?
2 of 8
January 24, 2011
This is even more interesting when you consider the implications of a dual-sourced ORC (or DORC, if you will).

You can essentially eliminate a pinch point by using low-grade waste heat in conjunction with a mid-grade heat source (such as CSP) within the same cycle, using only one expander.

This would dramatically improve the efficiency of the heat recovery (which is now horrible in terms of percentage, in some cases less than 30% of carnot limits) of the waste heat, while reducing the cost of the ORC - or at least sharing that cost with a CSP field - which will also have a significant improvement in its overall efficiency of heat recovery.

This should be deployment ready in 4 years or so. ;)
3 of 8
January 25, 2011
We try to found decision, how to implement ORC to gas pipeline stations. The steam flow from 35 MWe turbines on gas stations has a lot of potential to make locally enough electricity for own uses. If RB211 has max 35% efficiency, how much efficiency is going out with so-called technical gase, which price really is the same as natura?

I hear that some such decisions now are implements in USA market. It is interesting, how they are working in how long time need for develop such project?
4 of 8
January 26, 2011
The cost of installed kW is very confusing here. Are we talking of 1k$-2k$ for >10MWe systems or 5k$ to 7k$ for <1MWe systems ?

Departement of Energy must have figures for companies operating in the US or if they gave grants to Ormat or P&W.
5 of 8
January 26, 2011
ORC and Absorption Chilling technologies represents the concept of Tri-Generation - i.e. a third stage to Co-Generation. The market potential for Tri-Generation technologies is massive, the permitting process to add-on to existing facilities and the fact that transmission limitations are not an issue versus wind and solar makes this the lowest hanging fruit in the US arsenal to transition to a cleaner energy base. Energy efficiency technologies such as Tri-Generation MUST be recognized as equivalent to renewable as the added MWs generated emits NOTHING in and of itself!
6 of 8
February 3, 2011
@ joseph-fournier-149721 Sorry, but your logic is a little bit warped: if what you are saying ("Energy efficiency technologies such as Tri-Generation MUST be recognized as equivalent to renewable as the added MWs generated emits NOTHING in and of itself") were accepted, then all the waste energy recovery systems that have been in place in various industries, including petroleum refining and petrochemicals, thermal boilers in power plants, etc. - even using waste engine heat for heating the inside of your gasoline- or Diesel-powered car - for decades would all qualify for the "renewable rate."

I sympathise with your enthusiasm, but that won't fly.
7 of 8
February 11, 2011
The homeowner needs a power source to support/replace the fragile utility giant lurking behind all consumers. Said giant has excuses for interrupted service, none of them any use when your power is out. I welcome ORC etc but how viable is it now, to everyman? Here in the desert we have waste heat to spare yet no systems exist to convert this waste heat into electricity. 100 yards of exposed piping would preheat water for solar powered steam engine driving a small generator. Quaint, fun and useful.
8 of 8
February 18, 2011
We always seek to use an ORC unit as a back-end odd-on if a potential CHP project does not have an economically-viable heat off-taker. Whilst most ORC plants have a comparatively low electrical efficiency (generally 16%-18%)it often makes sense to be able to generate additional power, particularly if there is a decent RE tariff structure in place. In the UK, for example, we would be able to get ~£125/MWe for power generated from a biomass gasifier + ICE plant, plus ~£30/MWth (assumes £15/MWth price to end-user + £15/MWth RHI)exported heat. If we cannot sell the heat, then we can still earn ~£20-25 for the additional ~200kWe generated by the ORC unit and still have on-site LT heat for drying, heating, etc. Doesn't have to be a biomass gasifier, of course - we can use RDF too!
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Robert Crowe

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Robert Crowe is a technical writer and reporter based in San Antonio, Texas. He has written for Bloomberg, the Houston Chronicle, Boston Herald, StreetAuthor... more »

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