Advanced control of organic Rankine cycle systems for increased energy efficiency of heavy-duty transport

Project Details


The European Commission reports that heavy-duty vehicles accounted for 27% of road transport CO2 emissions and almost 5% of EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. Heavy-duty vehicles are based on internal combustion engines, whose efficiencies are 30-46%, whereas the remaining energy is released unused to the atmosphere. A key technology to reduce the environmental impact and improve energy efficiency of heavy-duty vehicle powertrains is the organic Rankine cycle technology. However, the waste heat from internal combustion engines of heavy duty vehicles is characterized by large fluctuations in load, making it a difficult task to control the organic Rankine cycle unit. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to develop fast and reliable control strategies in order to enable maximum net power output and safe operation of the organic Rankine cycle power system. The present work aims to develop and demonstrate innovative advanced control strategies under realistic driving conditions, enabling a reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emission by around 8%. Identified advanced control strategies will be both simulated and demonstrated on a unique test rig currently under construction at DTU. The project will have a crucial role in shaping future powertrains for efficient greener transport and sustainable mobility.

Project partners:
Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Scania AB

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754462.

Key findings

- Both steady-state and dynamic charactierzation of the performance of a 3 kW WHR-ORC test rig with axial-flow turbine, validating a simulation model with experimental data;
- Identification, development and implementation of innovative advanced control architectures for ORCs with an axial-flow turbine;
- Testing and demonstratation of the feasibility of the selected advanced control solutions under real driving conditions;
- Development of efficient and safe start-up and shut-down procedures of the ORC unit;
- Assessment of the feasibility of solutions, quantification of technical and economic benefits and development of clear guidelines for future implementation.
Effective start/end date15/01/202015/01/2022


  • organic Rankine cycle
  • control
  • Dynamics
  • waste heat recovery
  • heavy-duty vehicles