Waste heat recovery in a cruise vessel in the Baltic Sea by using an organic Rankine cycle: a case study

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


Maritime transportation is a significant contributor to SOx, NOx and particle matter emissions, even though it has a quite low CO2 impact. New regulations are being enforced in special areas that limit the amount of emissions from the ships. This fact, together with the high fuel prices, is driving the marine industry towards the improvement of the energy efficiency of current ship engines and the reduction of their energy demand. Although more sophisticated and complex engine designs can improve significantly the efficiency of the energy systems in ships, waste heat recovery arises as the most influent technique for the reduction of the energy consumption. In this sense, it is estimated that around 50% of the total energy from the fuel consumed in a ship is wasted and rejected in fluid and exhaust gas streams. The primary heat sources for waste heat recovery are the engine exhaust and the engine coolant. In this work, we present a study on the integration of an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) in an existing ship, for the recovery of the main and auxiliary engines exhaust heat. Experimental data from the operating conditions of the engines on the M/S Birka Stockholm cruise ship were logged during a port-to-port cruise from Stockholm to Mariehamn over a period of time close to one month. The ship has four main engines Wärtsilä 5850 kW for propulsion, and four auxiliary engines 2760 kW used for electrical consumers. A number of six load conditions were identified depending on the vessel speed. The speed range from 12-14 knots was considered as the design condition, as it was present during more than 34% of the time. In this study, the average values of the engines exhaust temperatures and mass flow rates, for each load case, were used as inputs for a model of an ORC. The main parameters of the ORC, including working fluid and turbine configuration, were optimized based on the criteria of maximum net power output and compactness of the installation components. Results from the study showed that an ORC with internal regeneration using benzene would yield the greatest average net power output over the operating time. For this situation, the power production of the ORC would represent about 22% of the total electricity consumption on board. These data confirmed the ORC as a feasible and promising technology for the reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of existing ships.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Energy Engineering


  • organic Rankine cycle, ship, waste heat recovery, energy efficiency
Original languageEnglish
StateUnpublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch
EventASME Turbo Expo 2015 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 2015 Jun 152015 Jun 19


ConferenceASME Turbo Expo 2015