Experimental analysis of a micro-scale organic Rankine cycle system retrofitted to operate in grid-connected mode

Muhammad Usman, Muhammad Imran, Fredrik Haglind, Apostolos Pesyridis, Byung-Sik Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work presents the retrofitting of a micro-scale organic Rankine cycle system originally designed for off-grid operation, modified to operate in grid-connected mode. Quantitative and qualitative performance comparisons of the grid-connected and off-grid connected organic Rankine cycle system are made based on experimental data of an organic Rankine cycle test rig. The operating strategies of the two systems are discussed in detail. The organic Rankine cycle test rig has a nominal power output of 1 kW with R245fa as the working fluid, a scroll expander as the expansion machine and steam as the heat source. Initially, the experiments were performed in off-grid operation mode with a self-excited alternating current generator. Subsequently, the organic Rankine cycle test rig was retrofitted for grid-connected mode, replacing the alternating current generator with an induction motor, regenerative variable frequency drive and grid connection. The rig modification was carefully done in such a way that the expander rotational speed was not fixed by the grid frequency, offering an additional control parameter for operational control optimisation. The modified system is able to supply 1.162 kW of gross electric power to the grid while a net electric output of 0.967 kW is measured. The same system is able to generate 1.016 kW (gross) and 0.838 kW (net) electric output in grid-connected mode. The net thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency at peak power generation is 7.36% and 4.66% in grid-connected and off-grid operating mode, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115889
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Early online date17 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).

Funding:The research presented in this paper has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme with two Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships under grant agreement number 844023 (project SuperVGE) and 751947 (project DYNCON-ORC), respectively. The infrastructure and experimental works were supported under the framework of the Research and Development Program of the Korea Institute of Energy Research (B9-2451-6).


  • Grid-connected mode
  • Off-grid mode
  • Organic Rankine cycle
  • R245fa
  • Scroll expander
  • Waste heat recovery


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