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Low-Potentional Heat Energy Sources


Scientific and Technical Substantiation of the Methods for Increasing the Ecological and Economic Efficiency of Thermomechanical Conversions in Using Low-Potential Heat Sources

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-NGD/Fluid Mechanics and Gas Dynamics/Physics
  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
  • NNE-EPP/Electric Power Production/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • NNE-GEN/Geothermal Energy/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • NNE-HCS/Heating and Cooling Systems/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • NNE-OTH/Other/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • NNE-SOL/Solar Energy/Non-Nuclear Energy

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Yaroslavl State Technical University, Russia, Yaroslavl reg., Yaroslavl


  • University of Manchester / Center for Process Integration, UK, Manchester

Project summary

The Project aim. Within the framework of this Project it is planned to substantiate the conception and methods allowing the efficiency of thermomechanical conversions to be increased by means of extension of the useful temperature range of thermodynamic cycles in the low-temperature region of the energy spectrum, as well as to demonstrate by using working models the possibility of a commercial implementation of these methods with the existing state of the art.

Current status. At this date, by the example of stationary ideal gas flows a thermodynamic analysis of the open nonequilibrium thermodynamic systems has been performed with the use of the new dynamic equilibrium method which enables one to refine the peculiarities of the behavior of such systems that were earlier ascertained using the known quasistatic equilibrium method.

This analysis permits drawing the conclusion that:

  • in the open non-equilibrium systems, change in entropy depends not only on the thermal impacts, as was supposed earlier, but also on the mechanical ones, whereas the second law of thermodynamics has additional interpretation defining the efficiency of the thermodynamic cycles by the temperatures of the working medium (but not necessarily by the temperatures of the heat sources) at their upper and lower temperature levels;
  • the use of the non-equilibrium systems opens up additional opportunities for an increase in efficiency of electric power, heat and cold production.

Moreover, experimental investigations of the methods for the dynamic regeneration of the heat release occurring in the absorption refrigeration cycles have been started in laboratory conditions. These investigations have permitted evaluating high prospects of a large-scale commercial application of the new absorption cycles for the production of various forms of energy, particularly in the low-temperature region of the energy spectrum.

The project’s influence on progress in this area. As a result of the realization of the Project the precedent will be created proving that it is possible to raise considerably the profitability of the thermomechanical conversions in using the low-temperature region of the energy spectrum, as well as to apply a single cycle to a combined generation of various forms of energy. In so doing a number of the concepts of the thermodynamics and statistical physics of classical systems based on the quasistatic assumptions and constraining the useful temperature range of the power cycles to the temperatures of heat sources will be defined more exactly. Concurrent with this it will be shown that for the nonequilibrium systems there is a possibility of extending the said temperature range, including by reducing its lower temperature limit to the values less than the environmental temperature level.

The results of the Project will in essence bear upon many pisions of the modern power machine building, including electric power generation systems, heat and cold supply systems, internal and external combustion engines. It is anticipated that in prospect the positive results of the undertaking can lead to a substantial increase in degree of using renewable energy sources in the global energy balance and to a reduction of the emission of noxious gases into the atmosphere.

The participants’ expertise. The Project Manager, YSTU Professor, Doctor of Science Engineering Samkhan I.I., has wide scientific and practical experience in conduction of research and development work, including in the field of unconventional power engineering. He has suggested the dynamic equilibrium method for the analysis of non-equilibrium processes and carried out a number of important papers on the problems of thermodynamics and statistical physics which were presented at international conferences and published in Russian and foreign academic periodicals. Other YSTU staff members taking part in the project have wide experience in conduction of research and development work in the field of heat engineering and power machine building. The information about the YSTU staff members and their papers is available on the Internet web-site Besides, specialists with a good knowledge of refrigeration engineering are involved in participation in the project.

Expected results and their application. The implementation of the project will result in overcoming for the first time the prohibition of the classical thermodynamics concerning the creation of the power cycles with the temperatures of the working mediums less than a similar environmental level. This statement will necessitate a refinement of a number of the inferences of the classical thermodynamics and statistical physics based on the particular assumptions of the quasistatic method, and bring about a change in public consciousness in the area of promising methods of energy production and environmental protection. Besides, within the framework of the undertaking new highly remunerative cycles will be tested and a possibility of their commercial implementation with the modern state of the art will be demonstrated. The estimates performed by us show that at the heat carrier temperatures of 80 to 150°C the efficiency of the systems for electricity, heat and cold production can be increased in case of using such cycles nearly two-fold as compared with similar systems based on the known the Rankine and Kalina cycles. Corroboration of such figures will lead in prospect to creating a new generation of power and refrigerating equipment, as well as to providing the necessary conditions for a large-scale use of low-potential renewable or secondary heat sources.

Meeting the ISTC goals and objectives. Since scientists having knowledge in the area of the weapons of mass destruction take part in this Project and because the Project itself is exceptionally peaceful it meets the ISTC goals. Adherence to these objectives can be attained by planned wide involvement of scientists and participating institutions into international scientific community through providing information on the Project during international conferences and workshops.

Scope of activities. The following main activities will be implemented under the Project:

  • substantiating by the methods of the dynamic equilibrium (methods of the non-equilibrium thermodynamics) and statistical physics the possibility to use the unbalanced energy potentials of the open thermodynamic systems with a view to further increase the efficiency of the thermomechanical conversions, which had not been revealed earlier within the framework of traditional quasistatic conception;
  • calculations of new thermodynamic cycles for a combined or separate production of electricity and cold based on the use of the mixtures of working mediums with different boiling points and providing advantageous employment of the nonequilibrium system effects;
  • calculations of new absorption methods ensuring an increase in efficiency of the heat and cold production due to the application of the dynamic methods of regeneration of characteristic heat and mechanical losses by the use of an ejector and (or) a compressor;
  • substantiation of the choice of the equipment, design of the ejector and separator, as well as elaboration of the research and development documentation for the experimental models of new thermodynamic cycles;
  • creation of the working models of the moderate-powered systems for the production of various forms of energy (electricity, heat and cold) by the use of low-potential heat sources;
  • experimental investigation into the above-mentioned technology of electricity and cold generation;
  • experimental investigation into the new cycle for heat and cold production;
  • conduction of the international patentability search, and international patenting of new methods for producing energy;
  • presentation of the results of the undertaking to the international scientific community.

Role of Foreign Collaborators /Partners. The Centre for Process Integration, CEAS, led by Professor Robin Smith (The University of Manchester) expressed their wish to become Collaborators of this Project. Professor Smith and his group is a world leader in the field of conceptual process design. The methodologies developed allow environmentally friendly process design with the most efficient use of raw materials, energy and capital. The Centre enjoys an outstanding international reputation for the quality of its work, gained from many years of successful research and technology transfer.

Technical approach and methodology. The main innovation of the Project work will be the use of an expander (expansion engine) for generating mechanical power in the low-temperature region of the energy spectrum. Furthermore, methods for enhancement of absorption processes will be developed which make it possible to further reduce the pressure and temperature of the vapor of the low-boiling constituents of a working mixture when closing power or refrigeration thermodynamic cycles. In addition, methods for recovery of the heat emissions forming in the vapor absorption and condensation will be applied. It is intended to use as working mediums the environmentally safe refrigerants commonly employed in the vapor-compression refrigerating machines or conditioners, and liquid organic vehicles (absorbents) being not environmentally or sanitarily hazardous.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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