What does ORC mean?
The Rankine Cycle is a thermodynamic cycle that converts heat into work. The heat is supplied to a closed loop, which typically uses water as working fluid. The Rankine Cycle based on water provides approximately 85% of worldwide electricity production.
The Organic Rankine Cycle's principle is based on a turbogenerator working as a conventional steam turbine to transform thermal energy into mechanical energy and finally into electric energy through an electrical generator. Instead of generating steam from water, the ORC system vaporizes an organic fluid, characterized by a molecular mass higher than that of water, which leads to a slower rotation of the turbine, lower pressures and no erosion of the metal parts and blades.
The Rankine cycle is named after William John Macquorn Rankine (July 5, 1820 - December 24, 1872), a Scottish engineer and physicist. He was a founding contributor to the science of thermodynamics. Rankine developed a complete theory of the steam engine and indeed of all heat engines. His manuals of engineering science and practice were used for many decades after their publication in the 1850s and 1860s.