The interest in utilizing the energy in low‐grade heat sources and waste heat is increasing. There is an abundance of such heat sources, but their utilization today is insufficient, mainly due to the limitations of the conventional power cycles in such applications, such as low efficiency, bulky size or moisture at the expansion outlet (e.g. problems for turbine blades).
Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been widely investigated for use as a working fluid in refrigeration cycles, because it has no ozonedepleting potential (ODP) and low global warming potential (GWP). It is also inexpensive, non‐explosive, non‐flammable and abundant in nature. At the same time, CO2 has advantages in use as a working fluid in low‐grade heat resource recovery and energy conversion from waste heat, mainly because it can create a better matching to the heat source temperature profile in the supercritical region to reduce the irreversibility during the heating process. Nevertheless, the research in such applications is very limited.
This study investigates the potential of using carbon dioxide as a working fluid in power cycles for low‐grade heat source/waste heat recovery.
At the beginning of this study, basic CO2 power cycles, namely carbon dioxide transcritical power cycle, carbon dioxide Brayton cycle and carbon dioxide cooling and power combined cycle were simulated and studied to see their potential in different applications (e.g. low‐grade heat source applications, automobile applications and heat and power cogeneration applications). For the applications in automobile industries, low pressure drop on the engine’s exhaust gas side is crucial to not reducing the engine’s performance. Therefore, a heat exchanger with low‐pressure drop on the secondary side (i.e. the gas side) was also designed, simulated and tested with water and engine exhaust gases at the early stage of the study (Appendix 2).
The study subsequently focused mainly on carbon dioxide transcritical power cycle, which has a wide range of applications. The performance of the carbon dioxide transcritical power cycle has been simulated and compared with the other most commonly employed power cycles in lowgrade heat source utilizations, i.e. the Organic Rankin Cycle (ORC). Furthermore, the annual performance of the carbon dioxide transcritical power cycle in utilizing the low‐grade heat source (i.e. solar) has also been simulated and analyzed with dynamic simulation in this work.
Last but not least, the matching of the temperature profiles in the heat exchangers for CO2 and its influence on the cycle performance have also been discussed. Second law thermodynamic analyses of the carbon dioxide transcritical power systems have been completed.
The simulation models have been mainly developed in the software known as Engineering Equation Solver (EES)1 for both cycle analyses and computer‐aided heat exchanger designs. The model has also been connected to TRNSYS for dynamic system annual performance simulations. In addition, Refprop 7.02 is used for calculating the working fluid properties, and the CFD tool (COMSOL) 3 has been employed to investigate the particular phenomena influencing the heat exchanger performance.
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology(KTH) , 2011. , xxii, 128 p.