Tristan Merbecks

Main engineering passions and convictions centre around the provision of affordable, environmentally friendly and socially conscious energy. Strong technical background, aptitude for problem solving, ability to communicate these concepts in multicultural environments and passion for both sustainable energy sources and the modelling of physical systems 

  • MSc Chemical Engineering, University of Bath, Bath (United Kingdom) (Sept 2009- Jun 2016)

Project Title: Design and operation of a binary ORC plant for the exploitation of different geothermal sources, including two-phase sources
Host Institutions: PoliMi, ETH Zürich, Turboden
Supervisory Team: Paola Bombarda, Martin Saar, Joseph Bonafin
Start date: 1.5.2021

ESR Objectives:

To develop a general design strategy for the power plant with particular reference to the geothermal fluid features to enlarge the consolidated application range, including two phase (liquid and steam) geothermal sources.

Furthermore, to increase knowledge on the thermodynamic properties of liquid, steam and non-condensable gases mixtures with different salinity, to improve plant design; on the salt precipitation mechanism to prevent a decrease of the plant performance; on the solubility of the CO2 in the geothermal fluid, including the energetic cost of the CO2 compression, to optimise the reinjection process.

Plans to optimise the overall power plant configuration and the design of the plant components using real data from existing power plants built by Turboden and to predict real operating conditions of ORC binary plants. 

Research Update

To ensure binary ORC geothermal plants can be designed effectively, reliable and robust models for capturing the site specific geothermal fluid and cycle working fluid are paramount. A unified thermophysical and transport property model for both fluid types has been developed, based on the existing Reaktoro and CoolProp open-source libraries. This unified model can be used to better understand the role of the geothermal fluid’s composition on the design of the primary heat exchanger, a key component in a binary ORC plant. Further, the model can help develop strategies for mitigating scale formation and handling of the non-condensable gases. For now, additional testing and validation are required to build further confidence, and moving forward to the overall plant design.

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