Document Type



Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Yong X. Tao

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ali Ebadian

Third Advisor's Name

Yiding Cao

Fourth Advisor's Name

Yimin Zhu


Exergoeconomic, Organic Rankine Cycle, Geothermal, Hot and Humid, TRNSYS

Date of Defense



This study is an attempt at achieving Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) using a solar Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) based on exergetic and economic measures. The working fluid, working conditions of the cycle, cycle configuration, and solar collector type are considered the optimization parameters for the solar ORC system.

In the first section, a procedure is developed to compare ORC working fluids based on their molecular components, temperature-entropy diagram and fluid effects on the thermal efficiency, net power generated, vapor expansion ratio, and exergy efficiency of the Rankine cycle. Fluids with the best cycle performance are recognized in two different temperature levels within two different categories of fluids: refrigerants and non-refrigerants. Important factors that could lead to irreversibility reduction of the solar ORC are also investigated in this study.

In the next section, the system requirements needed to maintain the electricity demand of a geothermal air-conditioned commercial building located in Pensacola of Florida is considered as the criteria to select the optimal components and optimal working condition of the system. The solar collector loop, building, and geothermal air conditioning system are modeled using TRNSYS. Available electricity bills of the building and the 3-week monitoring data on the performance of the geothermal system are employed to calibrate the simulation. The simulation is repeated for Miami and Houston in order to evaluate the effect of the different solar radiations on the system requirements.

The final section discusses the exergoeconomic analysis of the ORC system with the optimum performance. Exergoeconomics rests on the philosophy that exergy is the only rational basis for assigning monetary costs to a system’s interactions with its surroundings and to the sources of thermodynamic inefficiencies within it. Exergoeconomic analysis of the optimal ORC system shows that the ratio Rex of the annual exergy loss to the capital cost can be considered a key parameter in optimizing a solar ORC system from the thermodynamic and economic point of view. It also shows that there is a systematic correlation between the exergy loss and capital cost for the investigated solar ORC system.





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