Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle for Recovering Industrial Waste Heat

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Engineering

Abstract

The UK has set a target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. To achieve this target, a reduction in energy consumption of around 40% will be required, and therefore significant improvements in energy efficiency are necessary. Energy recovery from industrial waste heat sources is considered to offer a significant contribution to improving overall energy efficiency in the energy-intensive industrial sectors. In the UK, a report recently published by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) identified 48 TWh/yr of industrial waste heat sources, equivalent to around one sixth of UK industrial energy consumption. Although waste heat recovery is broadly welcomed by industry, there is a lack of implementation of waste heat recovery systems in UK industrial sectors due to a number of barriers, the most important being poor efficiency. The forecast for global waste heat recovery systems market value is growth to 53 billion US Dollar by 2018, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% from 2013 to 2018. Needless to say, there is a huge national and global market for innovative waste heat recovery technologies.

Although there are several alternative technologies (at different stages of development) for waste heat recovery, such as heat exchanger, heat pump, Stirling engine and Kalina Cycle power plant, the Organic Rankine Cycle system remains the most promising in practice. Large Organic Rankine Cycle systems are commercially viable for high-temperature applications, however, their application to low-temperature waste heat (<250 Degree C) is in its infancy. Yet more than 60% of UK industrial waste heat sources are in the low temperature band (<250 Degree C). There is clearly a mismatch between Organic Rankine Cycle technology supply and demand, so innovative research and development are highly in demand.

This First Grant Scheme project, in response to the challenge of industrial waste heat recovery identified by DECC, aims to develop an innovative Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system that uses a binary zeotropic mixture as the working fluid and has mechanisms in place to adjust the mixture composition dynamically during operation to match the changing heat sink temperatures, and therefore the resultant system can achieve significant higher annual average efficiencies. The preliminary research shows that a Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle system can potentially generate over 10% more electricity from low temperature waste heat sources than a traditional one annually.
The research will firstly develop a novel Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle concept by integrating a composition adjusting mechanism into an Organic Rankine Cycle system, so that the mixture composition can be adjusted during the operation of the power plant. A steady-state numerical model will be developed to simulate and demonstrate the working principle and benefits of such a Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle system. A dynamic numerical model will then be developed to simulate and optimise the control strategy of mixture composition adjustment. Finally, a prototype of such Dynamic Organic Cycle system will be designed and constructed. The Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle concept and the two numerical models will be validated through a comprehensive experimental research.

The Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle power plants developed through this project can be widely applied to energy intensive industrial sectors such as the iron and steel industry, ceramic manufacturers, cement factories, food industrial, etc. As such power plants can achieve a much higher efficiency; the payback period can be significantly reduced, which would make energy recovery from industrial waste heat sources more profitable. The wide installation of such waste recovery power plants will ultimately reduce the energy demand of these industrial sectors, and therefore improve our energy security.

Planned Impact

The project's outputs will include the developed Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle technology and the design tools for the resultant power plants. The wide installation of such plants will deliver significant economic, social, and environmental benefits to the society. Several major categories of beneficiaries can be identified as follows:

(1) Energy-intensive industrial sector as end user. The obvious users of this technology will be a variety of energy-intensive industrial sector across UK such as cement factories, steel makers, oil refineries, glass factories, and the food industry. Once the Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle power plants are installed, the overall energy efficiency of these manufacturers will be significantly improved. The direct benefit will be twofold: first, the energy demand will reduced, and thus the level of fossil energy import of UK will be reduced. This will certainly contribute to the energy security of UK in the future. Second, as the energy efficiency is improved, the manufacturing cost of products will be brought down, and thus the UK products will have more competitive prices in the international market.

(2) Equipment manufacturers as suppliers. The project's industrial partners are the immediate beneficiaries of the developed Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle technology. The four industrial partners, DRD power, Star Refrigeration Ltd, Wellman International, and Heliex Power Ltd are all specialists in designing and supplying energy equipment. The construction of future plants will naturally involve collaboration with these UK equipment manufacturers, as any new plants will need to draw on their products and fabrication facilities. In the longer term, these industrial partners will form an ideal consortium to commercialise this Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle technology, which will ultimately generate new jobs for manufacturing, installing, and operating such power plants in the UK and globally.

(3) Energy users. The general energy users will also benefit due to the energy availability and savings on energy bills as a result from the installation of such power plants in energy intensive industrial sectors. The exploitation of waste heat will also reduce the absolute demand for energy across the UK economy, and thus reduce the need for imported fossil fuels, improving energy security and making future power cuts less likely.

(4) Policy makers. The technology developed through this project will offer energy policy makers a more efficient waste heat recovery technology. The policy of subsidising energy recovery may be reshaped as this high efficiency Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle technology becomes available.

(5) Environmental impacts. Furthermore, in the UK, a report recently published by the Department of Energy & Climate Change identified 48 TWh/yr of industrial waste heat sources, equivalent to around one sixth of UK industrial energy consumption. The report further identified 11 TWh/yr of them are technically recoverable, which is equivalent to 2.2 MtCO2/yr. The scale of this problem is such that enabling the recovery of even a fraction of this waste heat would lead to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by displacing generation by fossil fuel power plants. The Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle power plants offering a more efficient (and thus commercially viable) technology to exploit sources of waste heat could thus eventually make a significant contribution to the UK's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050.
 
Description A dynamic organic Cycle concept has been developed and demonstrated via this project. It uses a binary zeotropic mixture as the working fluid, with mechanisms in place to adjust the mixture composition dynamically during operation in response to changing conditions of heat sources and/or sinks, to maximize the overall efficiency of the plant and thus achieve significantly higher annual average efficiencies.
The research results have demonstrated that the dynamic ORC can significantly improve the power plant's annual energy generation in continental climate regions where the ambient temperature changes in a large range over a year. As the heat source temperature decreases, the benefits of the dynamic ORC become more significant, showing that it has great potential for low temperature applications.
The research found that the developed dynamic ORC concept can be applied to both large-scale power plants with turbines that can handle variable pressure ratios and small-scale systems with positive-displacement expanders that has a fixed expansion ratio and thus cannot handle variable pressure ratios. However, the operating principles for these two types of applications are fundamentally different. For large scale systems, the turbines can directly benefit from the increase of pressure ratio between the evaporator and condenser by tuning the boiling point of the zeotropic mixture to match the colder ambient temperature in winter. However, positive-displacement expanders cannot directly benefit from such increase of pressure ratio due to its fixed inbuilt expansion ratio. In this case, the vapour temperature at the exit of the expander will increase in winter, so a recuperator can then be used to recover the residual thermal energy from the low pressure vapour exiting from the expander to improve the cycle efficiency. Hence, small scale ORC systems with positive-displacement expanders can also benefit from the developed dynamic organic Rankine cycle concept.
Compared with traditional ORC systems using single component working fluid, a dynamic ORC power plant will require some extra working fluid and an extra composition tuning system that is essentially a small distillation system. The research results also showed that the extra costs are negligible for large scale applications (e.g., MW scale) because it only requires a very small composition tuning system (essentially a small distillation column) to change the composition little by little over a long period of time in a year.
The developed concept of dynamic power cycle has also been applied to Kalina cycle to develop and have demonstrated that the adjusting the composition of the mixture of water and ammonia can match the cycle closely with the changing ambient conditions, and thus improve the overall annual average energy efficiency of the power plant.
Exploitation Route We will endeavour to make the findings, models, and experimental data available via open access publications and data management. We will also collaborate with industrial partners to take this technology to higher TRLs.
Sectors Creative Economy,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

 
Description The models and results develop through this project have been disseminated to industrial partners. Discussion had been held with industrial partners to discuss the exploitation of the develop ORC power generation technology. The outcomes of this project have led to a Innovate UK project in collaboration with Sunamp and two Chinese partners to further develop small scale ORC power generation technology for utilising renewable heat sources to provide heat and power in rural population in China. This will provide a ideal platform to deliver the societal and economy impacts of this project.
Sector Creative Economy,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Provide views to the Scottish Government energy team in the area of heating technologies
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description An ORC power plant integrated with thermal energy storage to utilise renewable heat sources for distributed H&P
Amount £814,378 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R003122/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2017 
End 04/2019
 
Description Preliminary study of a novel double acting liquid piston expander technology
Amount £9,965 (GBP)
Funding ID Via: EP/K503903/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 03/2017
 
Description Study on the integrated vehicle IC engine based ORC system
Amount £12,500 (GBP)
Funding ID IE150866 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 03/2018
 
Description Thermally Driven Heat Pump Based on an Integrated Thermodynamic Cycle for Low Carbon Domestic Heating (Therma-Pump)
Amount £713,033 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N020472/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 06/2019
 
Description Thermally Driven Heat Pump Based on an Integrated Thermodynamic Cycle for Low Carbon Domestic Heating (Therma-Pump)
Amount £713,033 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N020472/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 06/2019
 
Title Small scale organic Rankine cycle system for testing different working fluids 
Description A small experimental apparatus has been constructed and well instrumented. It can be used to test different working fluids and fluid mixtures. The experimental apparatus has been designed with a recuperater and necessary controls to bypass it when it is not needed. The test results have been used to verify the numerical models. It has been shown that the design agrees with the predictions by the numerical models. In addition, ports have been designed for taking samples to exam the composition of the fluid mixture, so that the characteristics of different zeotropic mixtures can be tested. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This experimental apparatus has become an important facility for further research in this area, and helped to engage with industrial sectors in this area. 
 
Title Models for designing ORC power plants 
Description This is a distributed parameter model for simulating and design ORC systems. It was programmed on the Matlab Platform, and linked to a data base REFPROP 9.1 to obtain the required thermophysical properties. It is capable of designing the thermodynamic cycle with various working fluids and their mixtures. Pinch point analysis has been incorporated to design and analyse heat exchangers such as evaporator, condenser, and recuperator. All components can then be designed and sized. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The models were published in the several journal papers and disseminated at two international conferences. Together with the experimental apparatus developed via this project, these models have form a base to attract further research grants from EPSRC (EP/N020472/1) and Innovate UK. 
 
Description Beijing University of Technology 
Organisation Beijing University of Technology
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provide the design of ORC power plant and the control and power electronic system.
Collaborator Contribution Develop and provide a 5 kW single screw expander.
Impact Collaborate on the develop of cost-effective ORC power generation technology.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration ORC technology for energy recovery from IC engine's exhaust gases 
Organisation Beijing University of Technology
Department School of Automation
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise of the development of small-sacle organic Rankine cycle power plants that has been gained via the project "Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle for Recovering Industrial Waste Heat". The research facilities at the University of Glasgow, which were developed via the project "Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle for Recovering Industrial Waste Heat".
Collaborator Contribution Expertise of phase change material based heat storage technology Melton salty based heat storage technology Single screw expander technology
Impact This collaboration has led to a successful major joint grant application to the call "China-UK Innovation Bridge". An ORC power plant integrated with thermal energy storage to utilise renewable heat sources for distributed heating and power, Total value: £1.4 M (UoG: £390,881); May 2017 - April 2019; Role: PI. (Project Partners: Sunamp Ltd (UK), Beijing University of Technology, China Investment Yixing Red Sun Solar Energy Technology Company, China) This project has been selected for funding, and is in the final process for accepting the offer.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration ORC technology for energy recovery from IC engine's exhaust gases 
Organisation Sunamp Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expertise of the development of small-sacle organic Rankine cycle power plants that has been gained via the project "Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle for Recovering Industrial Waste Heat". The research facilities at the University of Glasgow, which were developed via the project "Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle for Recovering Industrial Waste Heat".
Collaborator Contribution Expertise of phase change material based heat storage technology Melton salty based heat storage technology Single screw expander technology
Impact This collaboration has led to a successful major joint grant application to the call "China-UK Innovation Bridge". An ORC power plant integrated with thermal energy storage to utilise renewable heat sources for distributed heating and power, Total value: £1.4 M (UoG: £390,881); May 2017 - April 2019; Role: PI. (Project Partners: Sunamp Ltd (UK), Beijing University of Technology, China Investment Yixing Red Sun Solar Energy Technology Company, China) This project has been selected for funding, and is in the final process for accepting the offer.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with Huazhong University of Science and Technology 
Organisation Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Established collaboration with Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China), led to a successful workshop/network grant by British Council and NSFC of China (Ref: 2018-RLWK10-10298) Contribution: expertise in heating and cooling technologies
Collaborator Contribution expertise in cooling technologies
Impact We will organise a joint China-UK worksho for heating and cooling technologies.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collaboration with Prof. Hua Tian and Gequn Shu in Tianjin University, China 
Organisation Tianjin University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Established collaboration with Prof. Hua Tian and Gequn Shu in Tianjin University in the area of super-critical CO2 power generation technologies. Our contribution: expertise of PIV experimental testing by Dr Zhibin Yu and CFD design expertise by Prof. Li He
Collaborator Contribution Their expertise of supercritical CO2 power plants
Impact Established collaboration with Tianjin University and submitted a China-UK Low Carbon Manufacture grant application in 2018. It received very high review scores but narrowly missed due to the very limited funds available of this Call. We will continue to collaborate in this area.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collaboration with Scottish power 
Organisation Scottish Power Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Contribute to the project "Modelling and Optimisation of Integrated Urban Energy Systems for both Heating and Power" in the area of heating networks, including modelling and optimisation.
Collaborator Contribution Contribute to the project "Modelling and Optimisation of Integrated Urban Energy Systems for both Heating and Power" in the area of smart grid, including modelling and optimisation.
Impact We submitted a joint application for a PhD studentship to Energy Technology Partnership in 2017 and was funded.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with Xian Jiaotong University 
Organisation Xi'an Jiaotong University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Established collaboration with Dr Mingjia Li in Xi'an Jiaotong University and submitted a China-UK Low Carbon Manufacture grant application in 2018. my contribution: expertise of PIV measurement and thermodynamics
Collaborator Contribution Expertise in thermodynamics and heat transfer
Impact Submitted a China-UK Low Carbon Manufacture grant application in 2018.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Sunamp 
Organisation Sunamp Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Test the heat batteries using our ORC system.
Collaborator Contribution Provide new heat batteries.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration. Sunamp develops new heat batteries, and we develop ORC power generation technology.
Start Year 2017
 
Description A talk at China-UK Workshop on Efficient Energy Utilisation 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The China-UK workshop on efficient energy utilisation bring together researchers and industrialists working on energy efficiency in both UK and China. Around 40-50 people attended this event. I gave a talk "A novel heat pump based on combined thermodynamic cycle".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Chair and and give a talk at the "Decarbonising Heat" session of Energy Innovation Emporium Conference 31st May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This conference brings together industry, the public sector and academia to discuss innovation for the Energy Strategy. Academia and businesses will present their research expertise & needs, from which the conference will identify avenues of innovation and cooperation that will support the Scottish Government's ambitions around carbon reduction. As the coordinator of the Heat Energy Theme of ETP, I and the BDM and other colleagues organised a session on the topic of "Decarbonise Heat", and it attached around 100 participants. I chaired the session and delivered the open talk. Several other speakers from industry sector and business sector and Scottish government energy team gave talks and participated the debate and panel discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.etp-scotland.ac.uk/NewsandEvents/Events/ETPEmporiumEvent2017.aspx
 
Description Chair/co-organise the workshop - Seasonal Thermal Storage for Scotland 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Seasonal Thermal Storage (STS) projects and technologies are allowing regions to decarbonise their heating by allowing heat to be collected during the summer, stored, and then used in the winter when peak heat demand occurs. STS projects are successfully up and running in several countries but not yet in Scotland.

This event aims to introduce the concept of STS, how it can add value to local and national energy systems, and the technologies involved. We will hear from experts who have been delivering STS projects in North West Europe, and who have been appraising the potential of STS to best be integrated into energy systems in Scotland.

The event will be useful for anyone from both the public and private sector who are in an energy planning, financing, or research role and would like to learn more about energy storage options beyond electrical batteries, and how alternative storage forms can provide key services to local and national energy systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Engagement with Scottish Energy Association 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Give a talk on heat energy and waste heat recover to the members of the Scottish Energy Association.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Engagement with Scottish Government's Energy Team 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Regular meeting with Scottish Government's Energy Team once six months to provide academic input to the heat energy related policy making.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Engagement with UK Committee on Climate Change 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Round table meeting organised by ETP to engage with with Chris Stark, CEO of the UK Committee on Climate Change, 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018