This study presents the potential of ammonia as a working fluid in transcritical Rankine cycle for power generation using both high and low temperature heat sources. Higher heat capacity value and superior heat transfer properties of ammonia compared to water are the motivating factors behind its use as a working fluid. A thermodynamic analysis for the ammonia based transcritical Rankine cycle and its comparison with the water based Rankine cycle is presented. Analyses with several cycle modifications are also presented to study the thermal efficiency augmentation. It is observed that an optimum high side pressure exists for near critical operation. In case of low temperature heat sources such as solar energy or waste heat, where water based systems are not suitable, ammonia based Rankine cycle is applicable with attractive thermal efficiency, although cycle modification is not possible. The results with high temperature heat source such as boiler or nuclear reactor, where the turbine outlet is in superheated zone, show that simple ammonia systems yield lower efficiency than water, although a recompression cycle with regenerative heat exchangers exhibits higher efficiency than water. Significant thermal efficiency improvement can be achieved by increasing the high side cycle pressure. Recompression Rankine cycle can be a potential alternative with proper design measures taken to avoid toxicity and flammability.

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