Theoretical and Experimental Study of a Thermally Driven Heat Pump Based on a Double Organic Rankine Cycle

Nowadays, one of the main alternatives for a more rational use of energy in heating applications is the heat pumping technologies. The market is dominated by two kinds of heat pump systems: the electrically driven vapor compression heat pumps (EHP), which are the most widely used in residential heating applications and the thermally driven heat pumps (TDHP), that are usually based on a sorption process. In this thesis, theoretical and experimental investigations of a concept of thermally driven heat pump, based on the coupling of a vapor compression heat pump cycle and an organic Rankine cycle, are presented. The system is named here as ORC-ORC. The studied concept uses a single stage centrifugal compressor directly coupled to a single stage radial inflow turbine. The shaft is rotating on gas bearings, which allows the system to be oil-free. Like most of the other TDHP's, this system has the advantage to work with a variety of fuels or heat sources like wood pellets, natural gas, solar heat, geothermal heat or waste heat. The concept studied in this work is a gas red system for space heating and domestic hot water production in small residential buildings. A systematic approach has been used to evaluate, in term of energy efficiency, the potential of ORC-ORC systems and to propose optimal design specifications at different levels of the design process. The method is based on the optimization which allows to identify the best configurations at each design step with respect to the designer choices. This approach is divided in three steps. In the first step, a model of the complete system has been developed based on a process integration approach. This step allows to quickly determine whether the system is potentially attractive or not, for given conditions, before going deeper in the design process. The results show that, in general, it is advantageous for the ORC evaporation to be supercritical. In the second step, based on the process integration results and heuristic rules, a suitable system heat exchanger network has been generated and modeled. The predicted values of the coefficient of performance (COP) at design conditions, for the different situations, are in the range 1.30 and 2.19. In a last step, the off-design characteristics of the compressor-turbine unit are considered, in order to evaluate the COP as well as the heating capacity range that can be covered with a specific compressor-turbine unit design. For this purpose, a model of the compressor-turbine unit has been developed. Experimental investigations have been carried out with R134a as working fluid. A first simple test rig has been developed to test the selected ORC evaporator in supercritical conditions. The measurements have allowed to calibrate and to validate an in-house supercritical evaporator simulation tool. An ORC-ORC prototype has been developed and built. Commercially available equipment has been used, except for the compressor-turbine unit that has been designed especially for this application. The targeted operating point, with an HP evaporation temperature of 0 °C and a condensing temperature of 35 °C, has not been reached, because of experimental difficulties which caused some delay. A maximum temperature difference of 20 °C between the HP evaporation and the condensation has been achieved, which corresponds to a compressor pressure ratio of 1.9. Measurements have been performed with compressor-turbine unit rotational speeds up to 171 krpm. The theoretical investigations shows that the proposed ORC-ORC concept is an interesting alternative of thermally actuated heating device for small residential buildings. Concerning the experimental investigations, although a number of problems have been encountered during the tests, it has been demonstrated that the proposed concept is feasible with today's technology.

Favrat, Daniel
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis5201-9

Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only

 Record created 2011-09-27, last modified 2018-03-17

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