Skip to main content

Programme Category


Article available in the folowing languages:

Industrial (Waste) Heat-to-Power conversion

Accounting for the results of previous research[[EU co-funded projects I-Therm (680599), sCO2-flex (764690), sCO2-HeRo (662116), TASIO (637189)]], proposals will integrate an industrial waste heat-to-power conversion system using one type of fluid (supercritical CO2 or organic) and demonstrate the system operation in industrial environment at an output power level of at least 2 MW, with improved cost efficiency compared to existing solutions. Proposals are expected to bring the technologies to TRL 6 or 7 (please see part G of the General Annexes)

In order to reach this goal all the following development areas need to be covered:

  • Optimisation of thermal cycles for different temperature levels of recovered heat and constrained industrial environment, in terms of efficiency and economics (capex, opex);
  • Development/improvement of design tools at components and system levels;
  • Development/improvement of materials and components: heat exchangers, turbomachinery, waste heat recovery unit, power generator and electronics, etc.
  • Integration and demonstration of the system in industrial environment;
  • Technical, and economical life cycle assessment of heat-to-power systems adapted for at least 4 energy intensive industrial sectors, to demonstrate economic viability, define business cases and exploitation strategy;
  • Dissemination of the technical and economic benefits.

Given the transversal nature of the technology, the potential for transferring the technology to the generation of electrical power from conventional and renewable energy sources should be assessed and disseminated.

In the case of supercritical CO2 technology, the potential for international cooperation[[The US-DoE is supporting activities on supercritical CO2 turbine system, for example the STEP project]] to facilitate technology development and market uptake should also be explored, notably to: establish mechanisms for exchange of R&D results (e.g. on materials performance); establish forum on safety issues, on standardisation of performance models; establish standards for instrumentation performance and calibration.

This topic contributes to the roadmap of the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) cPPP. Clustering and cooperation with other selected projects under this cross-cutting call and other relevant projects is strongly encouraged.

The proposals should demonstrate cycles, components and systems designs that are particularly suitable for industrial use with proven contributions in terms of industrial excess/waste heat use and impact on power distribution networks.

Proposals submitted under this topic should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction of this part of the Work Programme.

The Commission considers that optimizing cycles, components and systems and demonstrating the solution in an industrial setting would require an EU contribution of EUR 12 to 14 million. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Better use of process excess/waste heat represents a significant source of energy savings for industries. In a context of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and introducing the concept of circular economy in heat management in view of industrial process electrification, European industries have a clear interest in finding new ways to capture the heat produced by their process and to reuse it or to produce electricity. The conversion of excess heat back to electricity would also improve energy efficiency, mitigate the increase of electricity consumption due to industrial electrification and thereby reduce the load on the power grids. This will also facilitate balancing the grid due to intermittent supply of electricity from renewables.

Innovative heat to (mechanical or electrical) power conversion cycles using either organic fluid or supercritical CO2 fluid, present several benefits compared to conventional steam cycles. Organic cycles have the potential to recover waste heat sources as low as 150 °C, whereas steam systems are limited to heat sources above 260 °C. The supercritical CO2 cycle covers medium and high temperatures with drastically reduced footprint, higher efficiency, reduced or eliminated water requirement, reduced operational costs, compared to steam cycles.

These technologies are also transferable to renewable and conventional power generation with higher efficiency and reduced footprint than established technologies.

Actions are expected to make substantial contributions in terms of industrial excess/waste heat use and impact on power distribution networks:

  • Improved cycles to achieve scalability to higher power levels, higher cost effectiveness, wider input temperature ranges, significantly reduced system size compared to steam turbines, allowing wider take up of heat recovery from more industrial processes;
  • Primary energy savings (GWh/year) in industry (heat recovery) and potential primary energy savings in the power generation sector, assuming full deployment in EU Member States and (as far as data are available for the calculation of the impact) in Associated Countries.