Access Energy® Thermapower® Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) Systems

Access Energy® Thermapower® Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) systems recover waste heat from a wide range of small-scale industrial applications and convert it into electricity with no emissions or additional fuel required. 

 

Learn about Access Energy® Thermapower® ORC 125XLT for land-based applications
 

 

The Thermapower heat recovery products utilize the Organic Rankine Cycle, which is similar to a steam cycle except that it uses an organic fluid in place of water. The organic working fluid, which has a lower boiling point and higher vapor pressure than water, is used to transfer heat from an external source into a closed loop system.

The ORC products are the most compact, cost effective, reliable, and efficient heat recovery systems available today. A number of competitive advantages are provided by the proprietary components of the Thermapower systems, including:

The Carefree Integrated Power Module (IPM) is the core of the Thermapower product line and differentiates us from our competitors. It makes small-scale ORC systems viable and economical. The IPM runs on magnetic bearings and is hermetically sealed into a single unit, eliminating the need for a gearbox or lubrication system.

The Carefree IPM consists of a high-speed turbine expander and three integrated proprietary technologies, a high-speed permanent magnet generator, magnetic bearings, and power electronics in one sealed unit.  

The high-speed permanent magnet (PM) generators used in the Thermapower systems are made of proven materials, which operate with very little losses, and offer simple construction, which translates into low cost. The patented technology also includes direct coupling to the turbine wheel, high tip speed capabilities for high-speed operation, simplified controls for power generation and no maintenance. 

The integrated turbine and PM rotor removes the coupling and penetration between the turbine casing and the generator eliminating associated mechanical shaft losses and working fluid leakage potential. It also is more efficient then positive displacement (screw or scroll expanders).

Magnetic bearings offer users many benefits while maintaining a similar costing structure to conventional oil lubricated bearing systems including eliminating physical contact between rotating and stationary components and lubrication system contamination.   The magnetic bearings in our Thermapower products are highly reliable, reduce operating costs, simplify maintenance, and expand machine operating parameters.

Thermapower’s power electronics are customized to generate power for high-speed heat and pressure recovery applications, condition power to meet the needs of local utilities and provide power to the grid.

The power electronics software monitors grid activity in real time and adjusts the voltage and the frequency output to meet the real time conditions of the grid, if desired. In addition, the electronics package meets all the requirements for power quality and most utility specifications. Proven, state-of-the-art technology is utilized to maximize the benefits for these high-speed systems. Some unique design features and options of Vericycle power electronics include: no auxiliaries needed for cooling, self-monitoring safety features, and adjustability for 50 or 60 Hz and 380 to 480V.  

The PLC allows the Thermapower unit to operate autonomously. It monitors the temperatures and pressures necessary for proper operation as well as controls the automated heat source and cooling source valves. Using temperature monitoring and the source valves, the PLC ensures the industrial functions are unaffected when the ORC is off line.

Other key benefits of the Thermapower® systems include:

Thermapower products generate clean energy without the need for fuel or oil lubrication. The closed-loop, hermetically sealed system has no rotating seals and utilizes a safe working fluid that is environmentally friendly, non-combustible and non-flammable. This is in sharp contrast to conventional gearbox solutions, which often have issues with oil leaking into the working fluid or working fluid leaking out of the system.

The Thermapower products include variable speed generators, which allow for optimal speed operation, and include self-centering magnetic bearings, which eliminate contact or friction between rotating parts. Both of these features provide a five percent (at minimum) efficiency advantage over conventional systems. 

Thermapower systems are smaller and lighter than conventional systems and compatible with a variety of heat sources, gas or liquid. The modular configuration provides the flexibility to optimize auxiliary equipment, such as evaporators for the specific heat sources and condensers for desired cooling schemes (air or liquid). 

The working fluid, R2F45Fa, used in Thermapower systems can be purchased by customers directly at an economical price.