Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Microturbines and Small Turbomachinery

Assessment of Tesla Turbine Performance for Small Scale Rankine Combined Heat and Power Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
Van P. Carey

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1740

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 132(12), 122301 (Sep 01, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001356 History: Received August 27, 2009; Revised February 23, 2010; Published September 01, 2010; Online September 01, 2010

For solar Rankine cycle combined heat and power systems for residential buildings and other small-scale applications (producing 1–10 kWe), a low manufacturing cost, robust, and durable expander is especially attractive. The Tesla-type turbine design has these desired features. This paper summarizes a theoretical exploration of the performance of a Tesla turbine as the expander in a small-scale Rankine cycle combined heat and power system. A one-dimensional idealized model of momentum transfer in the turbine rotor is presented, which can be used to predict the efficiency of the turbine for typical conditions in these systems. The model adopts a nondimensional formulation that identifies the dimensionless parameters that dictate performance features of the turbine. The model is shown to agree well with experimental performance data obtained in earlier tests of prototype Tesla turbine units. The model is used to explore the performance of this type of turbine for Rankine cycle applications using water as a working fluid. The model indicates that isentropic efficiencies above 0.75 can be achieved if the operating conditions are tailored in an optimal way. The scalability of the turbine design, and the impact of the theoretical model predictions on the development of solar combined heat and power systems are also discussed.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Tesla turbine schematic

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Figure 2

Predicted variation of gas and rotor tangential velocities, and the difference in tangential velocities for Rem∗=10, Ŵo=2, and ξi=ri/ro=0.2

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Figure 3

Model prediction of rotor mechanical efficiency variation with (DH/ro)Rem and Ŵo for ξi=ri/ro=0.4

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Figure 4

Model prediction of rotor mechanical efficiency variation with (DH/ro)Rem and Ŵo for ξi=ri/ro=0.2

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Figure 5

Model prediction of isentropic efficiency variation with Rem∗=(DH/ro)Rem and Ŵo for choked flow of air (γ=1.4) at ξi=ri/ro=0.15, Pi/Pnt=0.5, and Mo=(Pt/Pnt)crit(γ−1)/2γ/(Ŵo+1)

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Figure 6

Rotor streamlines for the indicated dimensionless parameters

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Figure 7

Schematic of Rankine solar combined heat and power system

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Figure 8

Ideal water Rankine cycle T-s diagram for a solar combined heat and power system



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