Skip to main content

Demonstrating a highly-efficient and cost-effective energy conversion technology for waste heat recovery

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Heat2Energy (Demonstrating a highly-efficient and cost-effective energy conversion technology for waste heat recovery)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2015-09-30

The project presents a new energy conversion technology for low-grade waste heat recovery. It transforms thermal energy (80°C - 400°C) from different heat sources on demand in different kind of energy forms (mechanical, electrical energy or higher/lower temperature levels). The efficiency rate is much higher than for comparable ORC plants.

The project objectives were to prepare the technical and economic data base for demonstrating the technology for waste heat recovery in a 300kW pilot application at HeidelbergCement AG in order to provide mechanical drive for the screw-type compressor to generate compressed air; to elaborate the business plan and finally to promote the technology in the cement, but also other energy-intensive sectors, for example in the glass industry.

Depending on the heat source advent, the potential markets are: Industry (waste heat recovery; efficiency increase of existing power plants), Home (energy efficiency increase of buildings), Renewables (solar thermal, biomass, geothermal) and Mobility (energy-efficient drives for ships, locomotives and trucks).
All business related analysis and calculations have confirmed the technical and commercial feasibility of the project. The overall conclusion is that the business idea is unchanged and THERMOLECTRIC is eager to continue the project. The interest in the technology by the industry is large. However no industrial partner is willing to invest upfront, when we can not guarantee to exclude all risks. Therefore, to demonstrate the technology in an industrial environment, we will apply for SME Instrument Phase 2 funding.
The SME Instrument Phase 1 of the project has been successfully finished after 5 months by the end of September 2015. The business plan has been sharpened and the technical and economic feasibility has been proven. The work performed included the following activities:

o Realisation of preparatory activities for the demonstration of the technology in one plant of HeidelbergCement in Geseke (D) with strategic partners, to use waste heat hot flue gases from the rotary kilns to generate compressed air. This task included plant dimensioning, mechanical design, selection of materials, pre-construction works, as well as designing of a high performance heat exchanger for serious production and simulating thermodynamic cycles for efficient technical configuration.
o Elaboration of a business plan with profound figures on investment costs, costs of ownership and profitability for heat recovery applications, and develop market strategies to explore the cement and other sectors. This included the set up of exploitation plans of different products and components.
o Promotion of Heat2Energy technology for a wide market exploitation and technology transfer projects, including the participation at sector events like 2015 SusChem Stakeholder Event and 2015 SPIRE event; or China Manufacture 2025.

We feel very confident to move on to the next step in realising the demonstration within our partner’s network. An independent economic efficiency analysis has proven the superiority of our technology compared to state-of-the-art.
The waste heat recovery market (WHR) in Germany and Europe remains unchangeably high. This also counts for the rest of the world. The commercial potential to recover the industrial waste heat in Europe is estimated at 2,000 PJ/a. In Germany, the market value of waste heat recovery exceeds €25 Billion/a. It is a growing high volume market as applications are so manifold across many sectors. Waste heat as a renewable energy source attracts more and more attention from the energy-intensive industries that are forced to secure their global competiveness.

For the market introduction we have chosen the cement industry, as cement production is one of the most heat wasting sectors accounting for 85% (9.6 EJ) of all energy used in non-metallic minerals production. Globally, the market potential for WHR in the cement industry is very huge (estimated to be about 15,000 MW globally) , and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 9.32%.

The economic benefits are substantial energy cost savings, reduction of GHG emissions and the possibility of operating energy-autonomous applications. The fields of application can be found worldwide, where ever thermal processes happen, including the following:
- Decentralised energy-supply (B2B/B2C)
- Industrial process waste heat (cement industry, food industry, chemical industry, metal/glass/paper industry, plastic industry, textile industry, electrical engineering, atomic energy, crude oil/natural gas industry)
- Energy storage/heat store
- Solar thermic/geothermal energy
- Energy efficiency in residential/commercial buildings

With a successful implementation of the energy conversion technology with the support of funding from the SME instrument Phase 2, Thermolectric will enable target users to integrate its energy conversion technology for the use of low-temperature waste heat for energy production. They are either application-specific end users (private, public organisations, individuals), components manufacturers for integration in their own products/processes or system manufacturers.
H2E plant for waste heat recovery from industry