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Organic Rankine cycle diagram
ORC is the acronym of Organic Rankine Cycle by which we mean a system a Rankine cycle organic that allows the recovery of waste heat coming out of industrial processes - but also of solar panels and geothermal plants - to produce electricity that can be used for different uses such as lighting, operation of machinery, etc. Nothing, or almost nothing, is wasted and this makes electrical generation systems a Rankine cycle organic solutions with high potential for energy efficiency in the industrial sector.
Basic feature of systems ORC is the use of substances of organic origin with a high molecular weight and low phase change temperatures, lower than those of water. This allows systems a Rankine cycle organic to produce electricity also from medium and low temperature heat sources, such as solar panels, geothermal systems or more typically energy waste resulting from industrial cycles.
In a nutshell, a system ORC for the production of electricity, it consists of a primary heat exchanger (which has the function of transferring the heat from the exhaust gases to a thermal carrier), from the type Organic Rankine Cycle real (which produces electricity from the recovered heat) and from a system for the dissipation of condensation heat downstream of the plant Rankine cycle organic.
The ability to recover heat even from solar panels and geothermal systems currently makes the technology ORC much studied in the field of renewable energy, but industrial applications in Italy - where this technology has an important theoretical potential - are still rare.
Among the Italian companies, Zuccato Energia of Verona produces energy production modules ORC powered by hot water capable of producing from 50 up to 150 kWE of electricity. These modules for the production of electricity a Rankine cycle organic products are used in the heat recovery of engines and industrial processes and in small or residential energy plants, such as biogas or biomass plants.