An investigation into the performance of a Rankine–heat pump combined cycle
Oelofse, Stephanus Phillipus
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The global growth in electricity consumption and the shortcomings of renewable electricity generation technologies are some of the reasons why it is still relevant to evaluate the performance of power conversion technologies that are used in fossil fuel power stations. The power conversion technology that is widely used in fossil fuel power stations is the Rankine cycle. The goal of this study was to determine if the efficiency of a typical Rankine cycle can be improved by adding a heat pump as a bottoming cycle. Three simulation models were developed to perform this evaluation. The first is a simulation model of a Rankine cycle. A quite detailed Rankine cycle configuration was evaluated. The simulation model was used to determine the heating requirements of the heat pump cycle as well as its operating temperature ranges. The efficiency of this Rankine cycle was calculated as 43.05 %. A basic vapour compression cycle configuration was selected as the heat pump of the combined cycle. A simulation model of the vapour compression cycle and the interfaces with the Rankine cycle was developed as the second simulation model. Working fluids that are typically used in vapour compression cycles cannot be used for this application, due to temperature limitations. The vapour compression cycle’s simulation model was therefore also used to calculate the coefficient of performance (COP) for various working fluids in order to select a suitable working fluid. The best cycle COP (3.015 heating) was obtained with ethanol as working fluid. These simulation models were combined to form the simulation model of the Rankine-heat pump combined cycle. This model was used to evaluate the performance of the combined cycle for two different compressor power sources. This study showed that the concept of using steam turbine or electrical power to drive a compressor driven vapour compression cycle in the configuration proposed here does not improve the overall efficiency of the cycle. The reasons for this were discovered and warrant future investigation.
- Engineering