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Story of ORC
Organic Rankine Cycle

ORC Power systems have a long history starting from the RÉFLEXIONS SUR LA PUISSANCE MOTRICE DU FEU by S. CARNOT in 1824. In his masterpiece he compared the loss of energy in a heat engine to the loss of energy of a waterfall. Coming to the Twenty century ORC technology becomes essentially an Italian history.

1824

Carnot

ORC Power systems have a long history starting from the REFLEXIONS SUR LA PUISSANCE MOTRICE DU FEU by S. CARNOT in 1824. In his masterpiece he compared the loss of energy in a heat engine to the loss of energy of a waterfall.

1859

William Rankine

In the 'Manual of the Steam Engine' (1859) he developed vapor phase change theory in thermal machine defining the thermodynamic cycle called the "Rankine Cycle"

1888

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, some small boats were made with engines that used boiling petrol in place of steam for the power system. The most wellknown of these were those built by Frank W. Ofeldt (the "naphtha launches"), which entered production from 1897. The working fluid for the engine was naphtha

1907

Frank Shuman

Frank Shuman, in 1907 used a flat solar collector of about 110 m2 to boil ether at temperatures around 120 oC and drive a 2.6 kW engine

1934

Tito Romagnoli and Professor Luigi D�Amelio

Tito Romagnoli, an Italian, developed several Rankine engines between 1923 and 1930: one, around 2 hp (about 1:5 kW), with methyl chloride as its working fluid. Professor Luigi D'Amelio (1893-1967), chair of thermal and hydraulic machinery at the University of Naples designed a solar power plant for irrigation based on an ORC engine using monochloroethane as working fluid ["Use of high-molecular weight vapors in small turbines and utilization of solar heat as a source for motive energy"]. Such solar ORC plant would have been used to pump water in the arid areas of North Africa.

1955

First world fair on solar energy

Daniele Gasperini (1895-1960) designed and built a solar pump for raising water from below ground, called SOMOR, after the name of the company that built it (Societ� Motori Recupero-Company of Recovery Engines-for solar heat and waste heat), exhibited at the first world fair on solar energy, held at Phoenix, Arizona, in 1955

1961

Dr. Lucien Bronicki

In the 60's Dr. Lucien Bronicki, that met Prof. D'Amelio during his PhD studies in the late 50's in Paris designed, built, and tested several small solar ORC units (2-10 kWel) with monochlorobenzene as the working fluid.

1967

The first geothermal binary cycle

The first geothermal binary cycle was installed in the Soviet Union on the Kamchatka peninsula. The working fluid was the refrigerant 1211 and the engine had a gross power of 680 kW. The heat source was geothermal water at low temperature 80 �C

70�s

The �Italian school� in Milan

Particularly relevant are the studies carried out in Italy during the 60�s and the 70�s by Prof. Gianfranco Angelino, one of the fathers of modern ORC power systems technology, together with his colleagues at Politecnico di Milano, Prof. Mario Gaia and Prof. Ennio Macchi. Between 1976 and 1984, the Polytechnic group designed and contributed, with the financial backing of various institutions and private companies,totherealisation of 14 ORC engines, from 3 to 500 kW, to use various heat sources (solar energy, geothermal fluids, industrial waste heat, fossil fuels)

80�s

The �Finnish school�

In Finland, Prof. J. Larjola led the development of high-speed hermetic turbogenerators in the hundreds kWE range, in which the turbine, generator and pump share the same shaft. One of the first applications of this type of ORC turbogenerator was the use as the charger of the batteries of a deep-see submersible (1987)

Today

90�s � till Today

Today, the use of ORC is expanding rapidly and the basic technology is wellknown. The most common applications have been in the biomass and geothermal sectors, whilst the biggest margin for growth is forecast in the fields of heat recovery and solar thermodynamics (also, in principle, in OTEC plants). In Europe alone, there are now around 200�230 plants operating with organic fluid engines: 80 in Germany, around70 in Italy and 30 in Austri

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