Experimental investigation and modeling of integrated tri-generation systems.
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Energy demand in the world is increasing with population growth and higher living standards. Today, the need for energy requires a focus on renewable sources without abandoning fossil fuels. Efficient use of energy is one of the most important tasks in modern energy systems to achieve. In addition to the energy need, growing environmental concerns are linked with energy is emerged. Multi-purpose energy generation allows a higher efficiency by generating more outputs with the same input in the same system. Tri-generation systems are expected to provide at least three commodities, such as heating, cooling, desalination, storable fuel production and some other useful outputs, in addition to power generation. In this study, an experimental investigation of gasification is presented and two integrated tri-generation systems are proposed. The first integrated tri-generation system (System 1) utilizes solar energy as input and the outputs are power, fresh water and hot water. It consists of four sub-systems, namely solar power tower system, desalination system, Rankine cycle and organic Rankine cycle (ORC). The second integrated tri-generation system (System 2) utilizes coal and biomass as input and the outputs are power, fuel and hot water. It consists of five sub-systems: gasification plant, Brayton cycle, Rankine cycle, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis plant and an organic Rankine cycle (ORC). Experimental investigation includes coal and biomass gasification, where the experimental results of synthesis gas compositions are utilized in the analysis of the second systems. To maximize efficiency, heat losses from the system should be minimized through a recovery system to make the heat a useful commodity for other systems, such as ORCs which can utilize the low-grade heat. In this respect, ORCs are first analyzed for three different configurations in terms of energy and exergy efficiencies altering working fluids to increase the power output. Among two types of coal and one type biomass tried in the laboratory scale experimental set-up, Tunçbilek-Ömerler is found to be superior to Konya-Ilgın coal in terms of the highest amount of hydrogen in the synthesis gas composition. As biomass, wheat straw is gasified, which shows higher exergetic efficiency in comparison to Konya-Ilgın coal. Based on theoretical analysis conducted for the integrated systems, System 2 is found to be more efficient in terms of energy and exergy in comparison with System 1. However, when local needs are taken into account, fresh water can be a desirable useful output where solar irradiation is high. Both systems are compared to conventional and co-generation systems having the same inputs to quantify the improvement in efficiency. System 1 has an energy efficiency of 69% and an exergy efficiency of 58%, whereas System 2 has an energy efficiency of 71% and an exergy efficiency of 73%. When single generation is obtained from the same inputs, it is observed that the energy and exergy efficiencies drop drastically down to 34% and 42% for System 1; 33% and 42% for System 2, respectively.