Canadian Biomass Magazine

New thermal engine more efficient than Rankine?

January 22, 2012
By Scott Jamieson

Jan 22, 2012, Port Severn, ON - An Ontario inventor has developed a heat engine that he claims is more efficient than the well-known Organic Rankine cycle, and according to the Toronto Star wants to test it out using waste heat at an Ontario cement plant.

For the past seven years Ian Marnoch has been developing a new
kind of “heat engine” that he says can generate electricity more
economically from lower-grade heat. 

There are other heat-engine technologies out
there, most notably those based on the Organic Rankine thermodynamic
cycle. These systems transfer heat to a working fluid with a low boiling
point, such as ammonia. As the fluid heats up, expands and
vaporizes it drives a turbine that generates electricity. The vapour is
then cooled, condensing it back into a fluid which is recycled back
through the process.

Marnoch’s heat engine works under a
different principle. There is no vaporization of fluids. Instead, the
Marnoch system relies on dry pre-pressurized air that expands and
contracts as it is heated and cooled, causing pistons to turn that
generate electricity.

This in itself may not be new, but
it’s the way Marnoch has configured his machine that may give it an edge
over other technologies. He says his thermal power engine can process
heat much faster and at bigger volumes than Organic Rankine machines.

See the full report and future test plans here.

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