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SusTEM Special Sessions on Thermal Energy Management

Kiyarash Rahbar, Saad Mahmoud , Raya K. Al-Dadah, Ahmed Elsayed

School of Mechanical Engineering University of Birmingham

Steam/water Rankine cycle Vs organic Rankine cycle Importance of of expander

Aims and objective Design methodology of radial turbo-expander

Preliminary design Detailed design

Preliminary design Detailed design

Proposed specifications Conclusion

Accelerated worlds energy consumption has led to scarcity of fuel resources and severe environmental pollutions

New solutions and alternatives are required

Distributed (on site) Power Generation (DPG) is a promising solution for supplying energy demands and reducing environmental problems DPG is an electric power source connected directly to the distribution network or the customer site of the meter
Distributed Micro Power Generation
Distributed Small Power Generation
Distributed Medium Power Generation

Power Rating
1Watt to 5kW
5kW to 5MW 5MW to 50MW 50MW to 300MW

Distributed Large Power Generation

Ackermann T et al .Distributed Generation: a definition. J Electric Power Systems Research 2001;57:195204

Steam/Water vs. Organic Rankine Cycle

Water/steam Rankine cycle
1. Has uneconomically low thermal efficiency when exhaust steam temperature drops below 370C Bulky equipments due to high specific volume of steam High capital cost, safety concerns and complex system due to requirements of high temperature and pressure High maintenance cost due to erosion and corrosion of blades caused by steam droplets Unavailability of high temperature heat sources in DMPG 1.

Organic Rankine cycle

Suitable to be powered by low grade heat sources in temperature range of 60-200C Small size due to high fluid density (Steam=2.4kg/m3 ,R245fa=17.6 kg/m3 at 5bar,200C) Simplicity and alleviation of safety concerns due to low pressure and temperature Low capital and maintenance cost due to use of non-eroding and noncorrosive working fluids Availability of low grade heat sources when supplied by renewable energies

2. 3.







Importance Of Expander
Key component of the DPG Plays a major role in determining the overall cycle efficiency 1. Velocity type: turbo expanders (Radial and Axial)

2. Displacement type: scroll, screw and reciprocal piston expanders

Radial Turbo Expander

Radial turbo expanders offer many advantages over axial turbo expander and displacement type expanders Simple structure and easier manufacturing (one-piece casting) compare to axial turbo expander (blades and disk) Compact size due to greater specific power than equivalent axial stage (Euler turbomachinery equation)

High efficiency
Light weight

Aims And Objectives

Design and CFD analysis of a small size radial turbine Applicable for distributed micro power generation systems with power capacity of 5kW
Operating in organic Rankine cycle Suitable to be powered by low grade heat sources such as solar or geothermal energies in temperature range of 60-200C

Design Methodology Of The Radial Turbo-Expander

Main goal is to minimize the losses and maximize the efficiency of turbine with following constraints

Geometric Physical Economic This goal is accomplished by a systematic approach consisting of two main phases:
Preliminary phase Detailed phase

Preliminary Design
Determines the overall characteristics and the performance levels Highly iterative since it requires comprehensive trade studies of many different designs by variation of large group of input parameters 1-D code based on conservation of mass, momentum and energy and Euler turbo-machinery equation and appropriate loss models Mean streamline through the stage represents an average of the passage conditions at each key calculating station

Detailed Design

Concentrates on 1 or small number of design candidates that offer the optimum combination of features based on preliminary design results Investigates the aerodynamics of the flow field with much greater accuracy CFD analysis employed using ANSYS CFX (full three-dimensional ReynoldsAverage Navier-Stokes equations with appropriate turbulence modeling)

Results- Preliminary Design

Table of variation range of input parameters
Parameter Inlet Total Temperature(C) Inlet Total Pressure (kPa) Range 60 200 150 400

Algorithm for systematic variation of input parameters

Pressure Ratio
Mass flow rate (kg/sec) Rotational speed (rpm) Velocity Ratio

1.5 3
0.03 - 0.1 40000 60000 0.65 - 0.85

Inlet relative flow angle (degree) Exit absolute flow angle (degree)

-60 - -15
-10 10

Results- Design Space

Design Space


fficiency(%) e l ta to to l ta Rotor to

82 80 78 76 74 72 70 0.82 0.80 0.78 0.76 0.74 0.6 0.72 0.70 0.8 1.0


ity Ra

tio(U /





Each point represent an individual turbine design with different operating conditions and geometry




Sp ee

d( Ns )


Results- Preliminary Phase

Variation of inlet total temperature and pressure

Variation of mass flow rate and pressure ratio

Results- Preliminary Phase

Variation of velocity ratio and rotational speed

Variation of rotor relative inlet and absolute exit flow angles

5 4 82 80 100

Rotor total to static


Alpha 2= 10 deg Alpha 2= 0 deg Alpha 2= -10 deg

Rotor inlet diameter(mm)

80 60 40 20 0 Alpha 2= 10 deg Alpha 2= 0 deg Alpha 2= -10 deg

3 2 1 0 -65 -55 -45 -35 -25 -15


78 76 74 72 -65 -55 -45 -35 -25 -15

Alpha 2= 10 deg Alpha 2= 0 deg Alpha 2= 10 deg

Rotor relative inlet flow angle(deg)







Rotor relative inlet flow angle(deg)

Rotor relative inlet flow angle(deg)

Results- Detailed Phase

Parameter Inlet Total Temperature(C) Inlet Total Pressure (kPa) Pressure Ratio Mass flow rate (kg/sec) Rotational speed (rpm) Velocity Ratio Inlet relative flow angle (degree) Exit absolute flow angle (degree) Selected Value 60 200 2 0.09 55000 0.685 -35

3 different blade profiles were investigated with the aim of achieving appropriate blade loading and uniform flow The case with best blade profile was investigated for the appropriate number of rotor blades using CFD analysis

Results- Detailed Phase-Variation Of Blade Profile

Total Power output= 3.871kW

Case a
Total Power output=3.834kW

Case b
Total Power output=3.791kW

Case b

Results- Detailed Phase-Variation Of Rotor Blade Counts




Specifications Of The Proposed Radial Turbo-Expander

Parameter Unit Value

Power Total to total isentropic efficiency

Nozzle diameter at TE Nozzle vane height Nozzle throat area Nozzle blade inlet angle to radial Nozzle blade exit angle to radial Nozzle blade number

kW %
mm mm mm2 degree degree -

4 85.3
94.8 14.5 253 0 75 27

Rotor inlet diameter


53.6 24.7 0 -70 12

Rotor exit diameter at tip mm Rotor exit diameter at hub mm Rotor blade inlet angle to radial degree Rotor blade inlet angle to axial at degree RMS Rotor blade number -


There is a need for designing a small scale radial turbo expander for distributed micro power generation systems based on organic Rankine cycle

Two techniques were employed as preliminary design phase and detailed design phase
An algorithm was developed for the preliminary phase in order to explore a large number of designs based on a parametric study to determine the best initial design for the system of interest Preliminary design tool does not provide adequate information regarding to the complex 3-D behavior of the fluid inside the expander CFD analysis tool was also employed as the detailed design tool to investigate in greater details the characteristics of design candidate that was recommended by the preliminary phase Turbine with efficiency of 85.3% , power of 4kW and rotor diameter of 8cm is suitable to be used for supplying energy demands in DMPG systems

Thanks for listening and patience Any questions?