The Rankine Cycle

The Rankine cycle is an idealised thermodynamic cycle of a heat engine that converts heat into mechanical work. The heat is supplied externally to a closed loop, which usually uses water as the working fluid. The Rankine cycle, in the form of steam engines, generates about 90% of all electric power used throughout the world, including virtually all biomass, coal, solar thermal and nuclear power plants. It is named after William John Macquorn Rankine, a Scottish polymath and Glasgow University professor.

The Organic Rankine Cycle

The Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) is simply an application of the Rankine Cycle that uses a hydro-carbon as the working fluid. ZE Int’l applies the ORC cycle in a closed loop system. Thermal energy is brought into the system using an intermediate thermal oil system. The heat energy coming into the system vaporises the working fluid which is expanded through a bespoke turbine. This in turn is coupled to an alternator whose output is turned into grid quality electricity to be exported to the grid.

Typical ORC Installation Block Diagram

Simplified Typical ORC Installation Block Diagram