Mean-line modeling and CFD analysis of a miniature radial turbine for distributed power generation systems

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Distributed power generation (DPG) based on organic Rankine cycle offers potential in the effective use of energy from low grade heat sources up to 200°C. In this regard, developing an effective expander plays a major role in determining the overall cycle efficiency. In this work mean-line modeling and CFD techniques are employed to develop a small-scale radial turbine for DPG systems with a power output of ∼5 kWe. A parametric study is carried out using the mean-line approach to investigate the effects of key input parameters such as operating conditions, velocity ratio, rotational speed and rotor flow angles on the turbine rotor inlet diameter and overall performance. Results from the mean-line approach show that in order to achieve high power output, inlet total temperature, mass flow rate and pressure ratio should be increased. However, for reducing the rotor inlet diameter the velocity ratio should be decreased. CFD technique is then used to assess the flow field and to improve the blade loading by modification of blade angle distribution. CFD is also used to determine the minimum number of rotor blades and the results show that the value suggested by mean-line modeling overestimates this parameter. By using these two approaches a wide range of design configurations are explored and the most effective design is identified to be with specific diameter of 4.83 (rotor inlet diameter of 0.0787 m), specific speed of 0.433 (rotational speed of 55 000 rpm), 10 blades and output power of 4.662 kW.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Sept 2014


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