Siemens acquires knowledge of organic Rankine cycle applications

The organic Rankine cycle (ORC) is a thermodynamic process that uses fluids with a lower boiling point than water

Siemens Energy acquired specialized know-how of organic Rankine cycle technology from insolvency administrators managing the assets of Maxxtec AG and Adoratec GmbH in Sinsheim, Germany.

The purchase agreements are signed and the transaction will soon be concluded. The company said it wants to pair this technology with its turbine-building capability to tap into new markets within the power generation sector.

The organic Rankine cycle (ORC) is a thermodynamic process that uses fluids with a lower boiling point than water — silicone oils, refrigerants or hydrocarbons — as the working fluid. This allows electrical power to be generated economically from lower-temperature sources as well. Siemens has thereby expanded its portfolio of environmentally compatible products and solutions.

The ORC process is used when the available temperature differential between the heat source and heat sink is too low to drive a steam turbine operated on steam generated from water. This technology can significantly lower reduce overall electrical generating costs because it allows waste heat that could otherwise not be viably used for conversion into electricity.

It also enables natural heat such as from geothermic sources to be used for power generation. Besides using waste and geothermal heat, ORC facilities can also produce electricity from the thermal energy generated by biomass combustion. Siemens will initially supply products and components for biomass-fired and waste-heat recovery plants with outputs of 2 MW. Over the medium term, geothermal plants with electrical generating capacities of up to 5 MW will be added to this product range.

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