Waste heat recovery is seen as one of the key enablers in achieving powertrain of high efficiency. The exhaust waste heat from an internal combustion engine (ICE) is known to be nearly equivalent to its brake power. Any energy recovered from the waste heat, which otherwise would be discarded, may directly enhance the overall thermal efficiency of a powertrain. Rankine cycle (indirect-recovery method) has been a favorable mean of waste heat recovery due to its rather high power density yet imposing significantly lesser back pressure to the engine compared to a direct-recovery method.
This paper presents the analytical investigation of a thermal-supercharged ICE compounded with Rankine cycle. This system removes the turbocharger turbine to further mitigate the exhaust back pressure to the engine, and the turbocharger compressor is powered by the waste heat recovered from the exhaust stream. Extra caution has been taken when exchanging the in/output parameters between the engine and Rankine cycle model to have a more realistic predictions. Such configuration improves the engine BSFC performance by 2.4–3.9%. Water, Benzene and R245fa are found to be equally good choice of working fluid for the Rankine cycle, and can further advance the BSFC performance by 4.0–4.8% despite running at minimum pressure setting. The off-design analyses suggested the operating pressure of Rankine cycle and its expander efficiency have the largest influence to the gross system performance.