This paper presents an analysis about recovering low-grade thermal energy from a precombustion CO2 capture process as part of an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant by means of organic rankine cycle (ORC) turbogenerators. The distinguishing feature of this system is the thermal energy source that is a syngas-water mixture, which is cooled from a temperature of approximately 140 °C, and partly condenses due to the heat transfer to the ORC primary heat exchanger. This study explores various types of ORC power systems for this application. The performance of commercially available ORC units is used as a benchmark and compared to the performance of two types of tailor-designed ORC power plants. The working fluid has a major influence on system performance and other technical and economic factors. The effect of selecting a fluid from the hydrocarbon and refrigerant families are therefore investigated, targeting the maximum net power output. In addition to pure fluids, two-component mixtures are also considered. The use of mixtures as working fluids in subcritical heat-recovery ORC systems allows for a better match of the temperature profiles in the primary heat exchanger and the condenser due to the temperature glide associated with phase-transition, leading to lower irreversibilities within the heat exchanging equipment. In order to further improve the thermal coupling between the cooling heat source and the heating of the working fluid, the supercritical cycle configuration is also studied. The performance of the three categories of systems, depending on working fluid and cycle configuration, i.e., systems based on (i) commercially available units, (ii) tailor-designed subcritical cycle, (iii) tailor-designed supercritical cycle, are analyzed in terms of net power output, second law efficiency, and component-based exergy efficiencies. The analysis shows that an improvement of 38.0% in terms of net power output compared to the benchmark system can be achieved by an optimized supercritical ORC power plant using an R134a/R236fa mixture as the working fluid. It is estimated that the total power consumption of the considered exemplary CO2 capture plant can be reduced by approximately 10% with the optimal ORC system. In this study, particular attention is focused on the semi-empirical optimization approach, in order to avoid unnecessary computations, and general guidelines are provided.

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