Power production from waste heat recovery represents an attractive and viable solution to contribute to the reduction of pollutant emissions generated by industrial plants and automotive sector. For transport applications, a promising technology can be identified in bottoming mini-organic Rankine cycles (ORCs), devoted to heat recovery from internal combustion engines (ICE). While commercial ORCs exploiting turbo-expanders in the power range of hundreds kW to several MW are a mature technology, well-established design guidelines are not yet available for turbines targeting small power outputs (below 50 kW). The present work develops a reduced-order model for the preliminary design of mini-ORC radial inflow turbines (RITs) for high-pressure ratio applications, suitable to be integrated in a comprehensive cycle optimization. An exhaustive review of existing loss models, whose development pattern is retraced up to the original approaches, is proposed. This investigation is finalized in a loss models effectiveness analysis performed by testing several correlations over six existing geometries. These test case turbines, operating with different fluids and covering a wide range of target expansion ratio, size, and gross power output, are then employed to carry out the validation procedure, whose results prove the robustness and prediction capability of the proposed reduced-order model.

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