Multi-objective optimal design of an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) plate heat exchanger with phase change

Document Type : Research Article


1 Mechanical Engineering, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran.

2 Mechanical Engineering, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran

3 Department of Engineering, University of Salford, UK


Organic Rankine Cycles (ORCs) have been shown to be feasible thermodynamically for electricity generation from organic fluids as working fluids with low temperature sources. Heat exchanger performance is strongly influenced by thermodynamic cycle efficiency. Minimizing heat losses and therefore maintenance costs is critical to attaining robust heat exchanger performance. As such heat exchanger optimization has emerged as a significant branch of thermal engineering design in the 21st century. We consider a plate heat exchanger as an evaporator and R123 as the working fluid based on ORC thermodynamics. Water vapor with entrance temperature of 150 Celsius is deployed as hot fluid. In this study, a multi-objective optimization method founded on genetic algorithms is implemented to obtain optimized geometrical parameters for the heat exchanger configuration which lead to pressure drop minimization and overall heat transfer coefficient maximization. In the optimization simulations, two objective function are conflicting with each other. Both single and two-phase flow scenarios are addressed. Therefore, in the present optimization method, a Pareto solution is used which permits the derivation of a mathematical relation between the two objective functions simultaneously and yields the optimal geometrical parameters for heat exchangers subject to constraints associated with the Pareto optimal set. A detailed sensitivity analysis has been conducted for each geometrical parameter and the effects of each parameter on key design characteristics have been evaluated.


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