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Analysis of vehicle exhaust waste heat recovery potential using a Rankine cycle

Domingues, António, Santos, Helder, Costa, Mário
Energy 2013 v.49 pp. 71-85
combustion, energy, evaporation, gases, heat, heat exchangers, models, spark ignition engines, temperature
This study evaluates the vehicle exhaust WHR (waste heat recovery) potential using a RC (Rankine cycle ). To this end, both a RC thermodynamic model and a heat exchanger model have been developed. Both models use as input, experimental data obtained from a vehicle tested on a chassis dynamometer. The thermodynamic analysis was performed for water, R123 and R245fa and revealed the advantage of using water as the working fluid in applications of thermal recovery from exhaust gases of vehicles equipped with a spark-ignition engine. Moreover, the heat exchanger effectiveness for the organic working fluids R123 and R245fa is higher than that for the water and, consequently, they can also be considered appropriate for use in vehicle WHR applications through RCs when the exhaust gas temperatures are relatively low. For an ideal heat exchanger, the simulations revealed increases in the internal combustion engine thermal and vehicle mechanical efficiencies of 1.4%–3.52% and 10.16%–15.95%, respectively, while for a shell and tube heat exchanger, the simulations showed an increase of 0.85%–1.2% in the thermal efficiency and an increase of 2.64%–6.96% in the mechanical efficiency for an evaporating pressure of 2 MPa. The results confirm the advantages of using the thermal energy contained in the vehicle exhaust gases through RCs. Furthermore, the present analysis demonstrates that improved evaporator designs and appropriate expander devices allowing for higher evaporating pressures are required to obtain the maximum WHR potential from vehicle RC systems.