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I-ThERM Report Summary

Project ID: 680599
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - I-ThERM (Industrial Thermal Energy Recovery Conversion and Management)

Reporting period: 2015-10-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In the European Union, industrial processes are currently responsible for one third of primary energy consumption. Most of these processes, however, involve a rejection of large quantities of heat to the environment whose recovery as heat or conversion to another form of energy, such as electricity, can reduce energy demand, lead to fuel cost savings and contribute to meeting emission reduction and decarbonisation targets.

In recent years, the potential for heat recovery has been increasingly recognised and the heat recovery business is expected to expand significantly. However, for this to materialise and for the European manufacturing and user industries to benefit from these developments, technological improvements and innovations should take place aimed at improving the energy efficiency of heat recovery equipment and reducing installed costs.

In this context, the aims of the I-ThERM project are to investigate, design, build and demonstrate innovative plug and play waste heat recovery solutions and the optimum utilisation of energy within and outside the plant perimeter for selected applications with high replicability and energy recovery potential in a wide temperature range (70 °C to 1000 °C).

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Throughout the first year, the coordination and management of the I-ThERM project ensured that all activities fulfilled the requirements of scope, timeliness and quality. Synergy between the partners was ensured by continuous communication and information exchange while dissemination activities were carried out using electronic media and attending international events as speakers or participants.

The heat recovery potential in the European Union was assessed through a literature review which identified and quantified primary energy consumption in the major industrial sectors, considered waste heat streams and their temperature levels, and potential energy recovery technologies.

A major achievement in the first year of the project has been the enhancement of the capabilities of the EINSTEIN energy auditing tool-kit to include the I-ThERM technologies. In particular, energy recovery systems based on bottoming thermodynamic cycles have been implemented. For the innovative heat recovery systems, a module for heat recovery design and calculation has been developed and included in the latest version of software (V2.4plus).

The I-ThERM project tackles the conversion of waste heat to electricity using a number of bottoming thermodynamic cycles that can be applied to different temperature levels at which the heat rejection from industrial processes takes place. At low temperatures (70 to 200°C), the reference thermodynamic cycle is the Trilateral Flash Cycle (TFC), while at medium to high temperatures a Brayton cycle operating with Carbon Dioxide in the supercritical state (sCO2) is being developed. Both approaches will be demonstrated in the I-ThERM project.

For the TFC, a fundamental step prior to its design was to select the most suitable demonstration application. For this reason, a technoeconomic assessment and several surveys were performed on different industrial sites of TATA Steel in the UK. The study identified the TATA Steel site at Port Talbot (UK) as suitable site for the TFC and waste hot water as the heat source. Significant work has been carried out on steady state modelling of the TFC cycle. A small scale TFC system has also been designed and built at Spirax Sarco and is now ready to be tested. The test rig will enable understanding of the practical implementation of the cycle and system design optimisation prior to the design and manufacture of the full scale system.

The demonstration of the sCO2 system will take place at Brunel University London. A thermodynamic design procedure for the sCO2 system has been developed and implemented in a simulation tool. The challenging design and operating conditions for the turbomachinery are being addressed through simulations using Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD). A preliminary design of the control system to perform regulation, supervision and monitoring tasks has also been conceived.

The I-ThERM project, apart from heat to power conversion systems also includes the design, manufacture and demonstration of direct heat recovery systems using innovative heat exchangers.

One heat exchanger is the condensing economiser based on heat pipe technology. The objective is to cool the exhaust gases below the condensation temperature of the vapours in the exhaust to increase the amount of heat that can be recovered. The Heat Pipe Condensing Economiser (HPCE) will be demonstrated on a water boiler in a food factory at (ARLUY S.L.U.) Spain where experimental measurements have already been carried out to enable the design specifications of the HPCE to be established and coatings to be developed and applied on the metallic surfaces of the heat exchanger to resist corrosion from Sulphur Dioxide condensing out of the exhaust gases.

The second heat recovery heat exchanger is the flat heat pipe heat exchanger (FHPS) which is design to recover heat from high temperature radiating surfaces such as hot billets from steel manufacture. The FHPS will be demonstrated at the Arcelor Mittal Iron

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The ambition of the I-ThERM project is to develop and demonstrate heat recovery technologies that will overcome many of the disadvantages of conventional technologies and create a pathway for much wider adoption of heat recovery by industry. In the first year of the project significant progress has been made beyond the state of the art, namely:
- The extensive survey on waste heat recovery potential in the European Union now provides an assessment of the energy and environmental benefits that could be achieved implementing conventional and novel energy recovery technologies in the current industrial scenario. Furthermore, it acts as baseline to promote the development of new heat recovery and heat to electrical power conversion technologies that will lead to new business creation and employment opportunities.
- The new version of the EINSTEIN tool now includes the novel energy recovery approaches being developed in the I-ThERM project. Using this tool, future energy audits are likely to identify new opportunities for the development and deployment of heat recovery and conversion technologies. Some of these innovative technologies will be demonstrated in the I-ThERM project and should potentially lead to their widespread application.
- Substantial know-how is being developed on heat recovery and waste heat to power conversion systems. The creation of this knowledge and dissemination to the scientific and industrial communities will lead to a greater awareness of the potential for these technologies and facilitate their adoption by industry. Apart from employment opportunities, this will lead to a reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and will contribute to meeting the EU’s target of reducing emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels by 2050.

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