Escalating fuel prices and future carbon dioxide emission limits are creating a renewed interest in methods to increase the thermal efficiency of engines beyond the limit of in-cylinder techniques. One promising mechanism that accomplishes both objectives is the conversion of engine waste heat to a more useful form of energy, either mechanical or electrical. This paper reviews the history of internal combustion engine exhaust waste heat recovery focusing on Organic Rankine Cycles since this thermodynamic cycle works well with the medium-grade energy of the exhaust. Selection of the cycle expander and working fluid are the primary focus of the review, since they are regarded as having the largest impact on system performance. Results demonstrate a potential fuel economy improvement around 10% with modern refrigerants and advancements in expander technology.
► This review article focuses on engine exhaust waste heat recovery works. ► The organic Rankine cycle is superior for low to medium exergy heat sources. ► Working fluid and expander selection strongly influence efficiency. ► Several authors demonstrate viable systems for vehicle installation.
- Waste heat recovery;
- Organic Rankine cycle;
- Engine emissions;
- Fuel consumption