How the Organic Rankine Cycle contributes to energy sustainability

Discover how the Organic Rankine Cycle contributes to energy sustainability, promoting heat recovery and the utilization of renewable energies

06 November 2023

The Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) represents a milestone in the field of energy sustainability, providing an effective solution for converting heat into electrical energy. Here's how the ORC contributes to outlining a more sustainable energy future:

  1. Conversion of Heat into Electrical Energy:
    The organic Rankine cycle converts heat, even at temperatures below 300°C, into electrical energy. This feature makes the ORC a preferable choice for use in industrial plants, where other technologies might not be as efficient in exploiting the available waste heat from the process. The effective conversion of heat into electrical energy represents a significant step towards energy saving, contributing significantly to energy sustainability​.
  2. Heat Recovery:
    The ORC in heat recovery is now a consolidated solution with more than 40 plants in operation in various highly energy-intensive industries. This technology uses an organic fluid with a low boiling point to capture and reuse the waste heat available in numerous production processes that would otherwise be lost. In this way, the ORC contributes to energy sustainability, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and improving the overall energy efficiency of industrial plants​.
  3. Use of Renewable Energies:
    The ORC and renewable heat sources go hand in hand. Thanks to its ability to operate with a wide range of heat sources, the ORC can utilize solar, geothermal energy, and other forms of renewable energy such as solid biomass. ​
  4. Versatility and Adaptability:
    The versatility of the ORC is evident in its ability to operate with a variety of heat sources and at different workloads, making it an adaptable technology that can be integrated into various energy systems. This flexibility allows for maximizing the use of available renewable resources, while simultaneously reducing dependence on fossil fuels and significantly contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions​.
  5. Increased Energy Efficiency:
    The implementation of the ORC in polygenerative systems not only improves energy efficiency but also allows the use of multiple valuable outputs, offering a holistic and sustainable energy solution. These polygenerative systems can provide a range of outputs, such as heating, cooling, drying, and desalination, allowing efficient use of energy across multiple applications, and outlining a concrete path towards energy saving​.

With its potential to effectively convert heat into electrical energy, and to integrate various renewable energy sources, the Organic Rankine Cycle stands as a key technology in the field of energy sustainability. Through the adoption and implementation of the ORC, it is possible to pave the way towards a more sustainable and responsible energy future.

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