Over the last years, much attention has been paid to the development of efficient and low-cost power systems for biomass-to-electricity conversion. This paper aims at investigating the design- and part-load performance of an innovative plant based on a wet indirectly fired gas turbine (WIFGT) fueled by woodchips and an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) turbogenerator. An exergy analysis is performed to identify the sources of inefficiencies, the optimal design variables, and the most suitable working fluid for the organic Rankine process. This step enables to parametrize the part-load model of the plant and to estimate its performance at different power outputs. The novel plant has a nominal power of 250 kW and a thermal efficiency of 43%. The major irreversibilities take place in the burner, recuperator, compressor and in the condenser. Toluene is the optimal working fluid for the organic Rankine engine. The part-load investigation indicates that the plant can operate at high efficiencies over a wide range of power outputs (50%–100%), with a peak thermal efficiency of 45% at around 80% load. While the ORC turbogenerator is responsible for the efficiency drop at low capacities, the off-design performance is governed by the efficiency characteristics of the compressor and turbine serving the gas turbine unit.
Bibliographical note© 2014 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 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
- Gas turbine
- Organic Rankine cycle (ORC)