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Optimisation of two-stage screw expanders for waste heat recovery applications

Read, M. G., Smith, I. K. & Stosic, N. (2015). Optimisation of two-stage screw expanders for waste heat recovery applications. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 90(1), article number 012058. doi: 10.1088/1757-899x/90/1/012058


It has previously been shown that the use of two-phase screw expanders in power generation cycles can achieve an increase in the utilisation of available energy from a low temperature heat source when compared with more conventional single-phase turbines. However, screw expander efficiencies are more sensitive to expansion volume ratio than turbines, and this increases as the expander inlet vapour dryness fraction decreases. For singlestage screw machines with low inlet dryness, this can lead to under expansion of the working fluid and low isentropic efficiency for the expansion process. The performance of the cycle can potentially be improved by using a two-stage expander, consisting of a low pressure machine and a smaller high pressure machine connected in series. By expanding the working fluid over two stages, the built-in volume ratios of the two machines can be selected to provide a better match with the overall expansion process, thereby increasing efficiency for particular inlet and discharge conditions. The mass flow rate though both stages must however be matched, and the compromise between increasing efficiency and maximising power output must also be considered. This research uses a rigorous thermodynamic screw machine model to compare the performance of single and two-stage expanders over a range of operating conditions. The model allows optimisation of the required intermediate pressure in the two- stage expander, along with the rotational speed and built-in volume ratio of both screw machine stages. The results allow the two-stage machine to be fully specified in order to achieve maximum efficiency for a required power output.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0.

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