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Design analysis of ORC micro-turbines making use of thermal energy of oceans


The article presents the results of the analysis of energy conversion cycles making use of thermal energy of oceans. The objects of analysis were two cases of closed Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power plants, which were: the cycle in which the vapour of the working medium was produced by warm oceanic water in the circum-equatorial zone, and the so-called “arctic” cycle in which this vapour was produced by non-frozen water in the circumpolar zone. Between ten and twenty low-boiling media were examined for which operating parameters were optimised to obtain the highest cycle efficiency. A preliminary design of an ORC turbine which was obtained by optimising basic design parameters is included. It has been proved that realisation of the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) cycle is possible both in the warm and permanently frozen regions. The results of the calculations have also revealed that the efficiency of the OTEC cycle is higher in the circumpolar zone. Selecting a low-boiling medium and designing a highly efficient turbine operating in both abovementioned regimes is technically realisable.


Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) cycles, Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), low-boiling media, steam turbines, turbine design


Vol. 20 No. 2(78) (2013)
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Marian Piwowarski

Gdansk University of Technology, Faculty of Ocean Engineering and Ship Technology

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