10th European Conference on Turbomachinery Fluid dynamics & Thermodynamics
There is a growing interest in organic Rankine cycle turbogenerators because of their ability to efficiently utilize external heat sources at low-to-medium temperature in the small-to-medium power range. High-temperature organic Rankine cycle turbines typically operate at very high pressure ratio and expand the organic working fluid in the dense-vapour thermodynamic region, thus requiring computational fluid dynamics solvers coupled with accurate thermodynamic models for their performance assessment and design. In this article we present a steady-state three-dimensional viscous computational fluid dynamics study of the Tri-O-Gen organic Rankine cycle radial turbine, including the radial nozzle, the rotor and the diffuser. The turbine operates with toluene as the working fluid, whose accurate thermophysical properties are obtained with a look-up table approach. Based on the three-dimensional simulation results, together with a two-dimensional fluid dynamic optimisation procedure documented elsewhere, an improved nozzle geometry is designed, manufactured and experimentally tested. Measurements show it delivers 5 kWe or 4% more net power output, as well as improved off-design performance.