Natural gas is considered as a green fuel due to its low environmental impact. LNG contains a large amount of cold exergy and must be regasified before further utilization. ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) has been proven to be a promising solution for both low grade heat utilization and LNG cold exergy recovery. Due to the great temperature difference between the heat source and LNG, the efficiency of one-stage ORC is relatively small. Hence, some researchers move forward to a two-stage Rankine cycle.
Working fluid plays a quite important role in the cycle performance. Working fluid selection of a two-stage ORC is much more challenging than that of a single-stage ORC. In this paper, a two-stage ORC is studied. Heat source temperatures of 100,150 and 200°C are investigated. 20 substances are selected as potential candidates for both the high and low Rankine cycles. The evaporating, condensing and turbine inlet temperatures of both Rankine cycles are optimized by PSO (Particle Swarm Optimization).
The results show that the best combination for heat source temperature of 100°C is R161/R218 with the maximum exergy efficiency of 35.27%. The best combination for 150°C is R161/RC318 with the maximum efficiency of 37.84% and ammonia/ammonia with the maximum efficiency of 39.15% for 200°C. Fluids with intermediate critical temperature, lower triple point temperature and lower normal boiling temperature are good candidates.