Silicon Tetrachloride (SiCl4) is proposed as a new potential working fluid for high-temperature Rankine Cycles. The capability to overcome the actual thermal stability limit of fluids commercially employed in the state-of-the-art Organic Rankine Cycles (ORC) is demonstrated by static thermal stability and material compatibility tests. Experimental static test proves its thermo-chemical stability with a conventional stainless-steel alloy (AISI 316L) up to 650 °C. A preliminary material compatibility analysis performed with optical microscope on the AISI 316L cylinder, after exposure of 300 h to SiCl4 at temperature higher than 550 °C, confirms the potentiality of this fluid when coupled with high-grade heat sources. A thermodynamic analysis has been carried out accounting for the effect of operating conditions on the axial turbine efficiency. A comparison with fluids adopted in medium–high temperature ORCs is performed, evidencing that the proposed fluid could achieve more than + 10 % points as thermal efficiency gain compared to any commercial solutions when coupled with high-temperature sources such as solar, biomass, waste heat from industrial processes and prime movers. A 2 MW SiCl4 cycle operating full-electric at 550 °C reaches a thermal efficiency of 38 %, exceeding values attainable by any other working fluid under similar conditions and power size.



  • M. Doninelli, G. Di Marcoberardino, C.M Invernizzi, P. Iora, and M. Gelfi – Università degli Studi di Brescia, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica ed Industriale, via Branze, 38, 25123, Brescia, Italy
  • G. Manzolini – Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Energia, Via Lambruschini 4A, 20156, Milano, Italy