Optimization of orc power plants for geothermal application in kenya by combining exergy and pinch point analysis

Alvin Kiprono Bett, Saeid Jalilinasrabady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Geothermal energy is a sustainable renewable source of energy. The installed capacity of geothermal energy in Kenya is 847.4 MWe of the total 2.7 GWe. This paper presents the effect of six different working fluids to optimize the geothermal of 21.5 MWe of reinjected brine at a single-flash power plant in Kenya. Engineering Equation Solver (EES) code was used to design and optimize simple organic Rankine (ORC) and regenerative cycles. The objective was to combine pinch point analysis and exergy analysis for the optimum utilization of geothermal energy by varying the turbine inlet pressure, pinch point, and reinjection temperature. The turbine inlet pressures, and pinch points were varied to obtain optimum pressures for higher net power output and exergy efficiencies. As the pressure increased, the efficiencies and net power generated increase to optimal at turbine inlet pressures between 2000 and 3000 kPa. By maintaining a condenser temperature at 46.7 C, the turbine outlet pressures were 557.5 kPa for isobutene, 627.4 kPa for isobutane, 543.7 kPa for butene, 438.9 kPa for trans-2-butene, 412.3 kPa for R236ea, and 622.9 kPa for R142b. For the pinch point of 10 C, the working fluid with a lower net power is trans-2-butene at 5936 kW for a flow rate of 138.8 kg/s and the highest reinjection at 89.05 C. On the other hand, R236ae had a flow rate of 398.2 kg/s, a higher power output of 7273 kW, and the lowest reinjection temperature of 73.47 C for a 5 C pinch point. In the pinch point consideration, the suitable fluid will depend on the best reinjection temperatures. The pinch point affects the heat transfer rates and effectiveness in the heat exchangers. The best pinch point is 10 C, since the reinjection temperatures are the highest between 83 and 89 C. The analysis showed that for unlimited reinjection temperatures, basic ORC is suitable. The regenerative cycle would be best suited where reinjection temperature is constrained by brine geochemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6579
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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