Organic Rankine cycle (ORC) power systems represent attractive solutions for power conversion from low temperature heat sources, and the use of these power systems is gaining increasing attention in the marine industry. This paper proposes the combined optimal design of cycle and expander for an organic Rankine cycle unit utilizing waste heat from low temperature heat sources. The study addresses a case where the minimum temperature of the heat source is constrained and a case where no constraint is imposed. The former case is the waste heat recovery from jacket cooling water of a marine diesel engine onboard a large ship, and the latter is representative of a low-temperature geothermal, solar or waste heat recovery application. Multi-component working fluids are investigated, as they allow improving the match between the temperature profiles in the heat exchangers and, consequently, reducing the irreversibility in the ORC system. This work considers mixtures of R245fa/pentane and propane/isobutane. The use of multi-component working fluids typically results in increased heat transfer areas and different expander designs compared to pure fluids. In order to properly account for turbine performance and design constraints in the cycle calculation, the thermodynamic cycle and the turbine are optimized simultaneously in the molar composition range of each mixture. Such novel optimization approach enables one to identify to which extent the cycle or the turbine behaviour influences the selection of the optimal solution. It also enables one to find the composition for which an optimal compromise between cycle and turbine performance is achieved. The optimal ORC unit employs pure R245fa and provides approximately 200 kW when the minimum hot fluid temperature is constrained. Conversely, the mixture R245fa/pentane (0.5/0.5) is selected and provides approximately 444 kW when the hot fluid temperature is not constrained to a lower value. In both cases, a compact and efficient turbine can be manufactured.

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