Multi-Objective Optimization of Organic Rankine Cycle Power Plants Using Pure and Mixed Working Fluids

Jesper Graa Andreasen, Martin Ryhl Kærn, Leonardo Pierobon, Ulrik Larsen, Fredrik Haglind

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For zeotropic mixtures, the temperature varies during phase change, which is opposed to the isothermal phase change of pure fluids. The use of such mixtures as working fluids in organic Rankine cycle power plants enables a minimization of the mean temperature difference of the heat exchangers, which is beneficial for cycle performance. On the other hand, larger heat transfer surface areas are typically required for evaporation and condensation when zeotropic mixtures are used as working fluids. In order to assess the feasibility of using zeotropic mixtures, it is, therefore, important to consider the additional costs of the heat exchangers. In this study, we aim at evaluating the economic feasibility of zeotropic mixtures compared to pure fluids. We carry out a multi-objective optimization of the net power output and the component costs for organic Rankine cycle power plants using low-temperature heat at 90 ◦C to produce electrical power at around 500 kW. The primary outcomes of the study are Pareto fronts, illustrating the power/cost relations for R32, R134a and R32/R134a (0.65/0.35mole). The results indicate that R32/R134a is the best of these fluids, with 3.4 % higher net power than R32 at the same total cost of 1200 k$.
Original languageEnglish
Article number322
Issue number5
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

c 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (


  • Organic Rankine cycle
  • Zeotropic Mixture
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Cost estimation
  • Heat exchanger design
  • Low temperature heat

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