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Development and Applications of Organic Rankine Cycle: What are the Next Steps? | FBK Seminar


Involved researchers

ARES unit will host PhD Sylvain Quoilin, researcher at the University of Liege and JRS Petten, for a seminar regarding Development and Applications of Organic Rankine Cycle.


Fabrizio Alberti

, +39 0461 314941

Ares Unit
Energy Systems Research Unit University of Liège
Sala Consiglio, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Via Sommarive 18 (Povo - Trento)


The interest for low grade heat recovery grew dramatically in the past decades. An important number of new solutions have been proposed to generate electricity from low temperature heat sources and are now applied to much diversified fields such as solar thermal power, industrial waste heat, engine exhaust gases, domestic boilers, etc. Among the proposed solutions, the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system is the most widely used.

Its two main advantages are the simplicity and the availability of its components. In such a system, the working fluid is an organic component that presents a lower ebullition temperature than water, allowing reduced evaporator temperatures.

Unlike with traditional power cycles, decentralized, small scale power generation is made possible by this technology. It is therefore successfully applied to various renewable energy sources such as biomass, geothermal and solar. Organic Rankine Cycles are already commercially available in the MW power range. However very few solutions are actually suitable for the kW scale.

This talk discusses the potential for the ORC technology throughout the world. A state of the art is presented, with special attention paid to expander technology, since it is a key component for the system performance, and to working fluid selection issues. The multiple possible applications for the ORC technology are detailed, and their respective benefits, drawbacks and technical maturity are investigated. Technological barriers and current R&D effort are described, especially for the introduction of low-capacity units on the market (downscaling).

Indicative cost data is finally provided, with the analysis of several case studies.