An exergy framework was developed taking into consideration a detailed analysis of the heat exchanger (intercooler) component irreversibilities. Moreover, it was further extended to include an adequate formulation for closed systems, e.g. a secondary cycle, moving with the aircraft. Afterwards the proposed framework was employed to study two radical intercooling concepts. The first proposed concept uses already available wetted surfaces, i.e. nacelle surfaces, to reject the core heat and contribute to an overall drag reduction. The second concept uses the rejected core heat to power a secondary organic Rankine cycle and produces useful power to the aircraft-engine system. Both radical concepts are integrated into a high bypass ratio turbofan engine, with technology levels assumed to be available by year 2025. A reference intercooled cycle incorporating a heat exchanger in the bypass duct is established for comparison. Results indicate that the radical intercooling concepts studied in this paper show similar performance levels to the reference cycle. This is mainly due to higher irreversibility rates created during the heat exchange process. A detailed assessment of the irreversibility contributors, including the considered heat exchangers and the secondary cycle major components is made. A striking strength of the present analysis is the assessment of the component irreversibility rate and its contribution to the overall aero-engine losses.

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