From Heat to Electricity
So our system produces extraordinary volumes of heat from relatively minor input.
Now to turn that into electricity……
ThOR Cycle based Heat Engine
The Thermally Optimised Recovery Cycle based Heat Engine (ThOR Engine) is a highly efficient steam engine. Depending on specific design aspects, it will have an efficiency of between 50% and 84%.
To place it in perspective, coal fired power plants operate on the modified Rankine thermodynamic cycle. The efficiency is dictated by the parameters of this thermodynamic cycle. The overall coal plant efficiency ranges from 32% to 42%. This is mainly dictated by the Superheat and Reheat steam temperatures and Superheat pressures. Most of the larger power plants operate at steam pressures of 170 bar and 570°C Superheat, and 570°C reheat temperatures. The efficiencies of these plants range from 35% to 38%. Super critical power plants operating at 220 bar and 600/600°C can achieve efficiencies of 42%. Ultra super critical pressure power plants at up to 300 bar and 600/600°C can achieve efficiencies in the range of 45% to 48% efficiency. These systems are extremely dangerous due to the high steam pressure, and are not feasible to build on a small scale.
For current small waste heat recovery generators (around 100kW) operating under 300°C, system efficiencies are in the region of 12%. These steam cycles are designed to condense the exhaust steam from the heat engine, and thereby discard more than 60% of the available heat energy.
ThOR technology is based around a low pressure, low temperature turbine. Exhaust heat from the turbine is recovered and returned, resulting in large efficiency gains and, due to operating at lower pressures, ThOR systems are much safer.
Assuming we only achieve 50% efficiency (bottom end of the expected performance scale), and we fit a ThOR unit to a 100 kVA (100 kW) diesel generator (which has an efficiency of around 33%, needing to burn around 300kW of fuel to generate 100kW), to recover normally lost exhaust heat from the diesel engine, then the ThOR Cycle system will turn the 100 kVA (kW) Generator effectively into a 150 kVA (kW) one.
The ThOR Engine relies on known scientific and engineering knowledge and is therefore a predictable engineering process to complete commercial prototyping. Due to the extensive theoretical modelling now completed, this project is considered very low risk, yet has an immediate and significant market in waste heat recovery and conversion.
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