Energy shortage and environmental deterioration are two crucial issues that the developing world has to face. In order to solve these problems, conversion of low grade energy is attracting broad attention. Among all of the existing technologies, Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) has been proven to be one of the most effective methods for the utilization of low grade heat sources. Turbine is a key component in ORC system and it plays an important role in system performance. Traditional turbine expanders, the axial flow turbine and the radial inflow turbine are typically selected in large scale ORC systems. However, in small and micro scale systems, traditional turbine expanders are not suitable due to large flow loss and high rotation speed. In this case, Tesla turbine allows a low-cost and reliable design for the organic expander that could be an attractive option for small scale ORC systems. A 1-D model of Tesla turbine is presented in this paper, which mainly focuses on the flow characteristics and the momentum transfer. This study improves the 1-D model, taking the nozzle limit expansion ratio into consideration, which is related to the installation angle of the nozzle and the specific heat ratio of the working fluid. The improved model is used to analyze Tesla turbine performance and predict turbine efficiency. Thermodynamic analysis is conducted for a small scale ORC system. The simulation results reveal that the ORC system can generate a considerable net power output. Therefore, Tesla turbine can be regarded as a potential choice to be applied in small scale ORC systems.

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