The results of investigations conducted on the prototype of vapour driven micro-CHP unit integrated with a gas boiler are presented. The system enables cogeneration of heat and electric energy to cover the energy demand of a household. The idea of such system is to produce electricity for own demand or for selling it to the electric grid – in such situation the system user will became the prosumer. A typical commercial gas boiler, additionally equipped with an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) module based on environmentally acceptable working fluid can be regarded as future generation unit. In the paper the prototype of innovative domestic cogenerative ORC system, consisting of a conventional gas boiler and a small size axial vapour microturbines (in-house designed for ORC and the commercially available for Rankine cycle (RC)), evaporator and condenser were scrutinised. In the course of study the fluid working temperatures, rates of heat, electricity generation and efficiency of the whole system were obtained. The tested system could produce electricity in the amount of 1 kWe. Some preliminary tests were started with water as working fluid and the results for that case are also presented. The investigations showed that domestic gas boiler was able to provide the saturated/superheated ethanol vapour (in the ORC system) and steam (in the RC system) as working fluids.
Heat exchangers of different types find application in power systems based on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). Compact plate fin heat exchangers are typically found to perfectly fit systems with power output under 5 kWel. Micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) units with solid oxide fuel cells can exhibit high electrical and overall efficiencies, exceeding 85%, respectively. These values can be achieved only when high thermal integration of a system is assured. Selection and sizing of heat exchangers play a crucial role and should be done with caution. Moreover, performance of heat exchangers under variable operating conditions can strongly influence efficiency of the complete system. For that reason, it becomes important to develop high fidelity mathematical models allowing evaluation of heat exchangers under modified operating conditions, in high temperature regimes. Prediction of pressure and temperatures drops at the exit of cold and hot sides are important for system-level studies. Paper presents dedicated mathematical model used for evaluation of a plate fin heat exchanger, operating as a part of micro-CHP unit with solid oxide fuel cells.
The economics of an ORC system is strictly linked to thermodynamic properties of the working fluid. A bad choice of working fluid could lead to a less efficient and expensive plant/generation unit. Some selection criteria have been put forward by various authors, incorporating thermodynamic properties, provided in literature but these do not have a general character. In the paper a simple analysis has been carried out which resulted in development of thermodynamic criteria for selection of an appropriate working fluid for subcritical and supercritical cycles. The postulated criteria are expressed in terms of non-dimensional numbers, which are characteristic for different fluids. The efficiency of the cycle is in a close relation to these numbers. The criteria are suitable for initial fluid selection. Such criteria should be used with other ones related to environmental impact, economy, system size, etc. Examples of such criteria have been also presented which may be helpful in rating of heat exchangers, which takes into account both heat transfer and flow resistance of the working fluid.
The paper presents the calculations for the failure conditions of the ORC (organic Rankine cycle) cycle in the electrical power system. It analyses the possible reasons of breakdown, such as the electrical power loss or the automatic safety valve failure. The micro-CHP (combined heat and power) system should have maintenance-free configuration, which means that the user does not have to be acquainted with all the details of the ORC system operation. However, the system should always be equipped with the safety control systems allowing for the immediate turn off of the ORC cycle in case of any failure. In case of emergency, the control system should take over the safety tasks and protect the micro-CHP system from damaging. Although, the control systems are able to respond quickly to the CHP system equipped with the inertial systems, the negative effects of failure are unavoidable and always remain for some time. Moreover, the paper presents the results of calculations determining the inertia for the micro-CHP system of the circulating ORC pump, heat removal pump (cooling condenser) and the heat supply pump in failure conditions.