The paper presents a literature review on the topic of vapour power plants working according to the two-phase thermodynamic cycle with supercritical parameters. The main attention was focused on a review of articles and papers on the vapour power plants working using organic circulation fluids powered with low- and medium-temperature heat sources. Power plants with water-steam cycle supplied with a high-temperature sources have also been shown, however, it has been done mainly to show fundamental differences in the efficiency of the power plant and applications of organic and water-steam cycles. Based on a review of available literature references a comparative analysis of the parameters generated by power plants was conducted, depending on the working fluid used, the type and parameters of the heat source, with particular attention to the needs of power plant internal load.
The paper illustrates a case study of fluid selection for an internal combustion engine heat recovery organic Rankine cycle (ORC) system having the net power of about 30 kW. Various criteria of fluid selection are discussed. Particular attention is paid to thermodynamic performance of the system and human safety. The selection of working fluid for the ORC system has a large impact on the next steps of the design process, i.e., the working substance affects the turbine design and the size and type of heat exchangers. The final choice is usually a compromise between thermodynamic performance, safety and impact on natural environment. The most important parameters in thermodynamic analysis include calculations of net generated power and ORC cycle efficiency. Some level of toxicity and flammability can be accepted only if the leakages are very low. The fluid thermal stability level has to be taken into account too. The economy is a key aspect from the commercial point of view and that includes not only the fluid cost but also other costs which are the consequence of particular fluid selection. The paper discusses various configurations of the ORC system – with and without a regenerator and with direct or indirect evaporation. The selected working fluids for the considered particular power plant include toluene, DMC (dimethyl carbonate) and MM (hexamethyldisiloxane). Their advantages and disadvantages are outlined.