Development of a low temperature geothermal organic rankine cycle standard.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Mechanical Engineering
The growth in renewable electricity generation is forecast to continue as fossil fuel levels decrease and carbon dioxide emissions are penalized. The growth in geothermal is becoming constrained as conventional high-temperature sources are fully exploited. Geothermal can be a cost competitive base load power source. Governments and utilities are looking at the potential of electricity generation from low temperature geothermal resources for future development. This technology, unlike the high and medium temperature, is not mature and there are a number of companies looking at entering the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) market.
This thesis aims to provide a necessary step for reliable commercial develop this technology by developing the first draft of a low temperature geothermal ORC standard. The standard outlines the critical stages of a geothermal ORC project as the Prospecting stage; Pre-Feasibility stage, Feasibility stage, and the Detailed Design stage. The standard is unlike other standards that are used to design one component; this standard guides the engineers though the various critical steps of the ORC design to correctly assess the geothermal resource and to inform design and investment decisions.
The standard provides particular guidance on critical factors in ORC design, primarily the working fluid selection and component selection limitations. Experienced industry engineers have provided advice and insight regarding the critical design points and processes. The draft standard was reviewed by a number of geothermal industry engineers who have worked with large scale, conventional ORCs. They each commented on the standard from their prospective in the industry and gave general feedback was that it is a technically relevant standard that can be used as a potential start point to develop a new standard for the low temperature binary ORC industry. The final draft standard has been submitted to the ISO for consideration.
This thesis first sets out the general background on the state of the art and the industry for lowtemperature binary ORC power plants, and provides the review assessment of the standard draft. However, the bulk of the thesis is the standard itself. The standard represents a substantial contribution to the mechanical and thermal systems engineering field.