Integrated Waste Heat Recovery Systems

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research


What it is

Integrated waste heat recovery systems combine multiple waste heat recovery technologies to maximize the utilization of waste heat from industrial processes. These systems typically integrate heat exchangers with other technologies, such as Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) systems or high-temperature heat pumps, to generate electricity, provide process heating or cooling, and improve overall energy efficiency.

Impact on climate action

Integrated Waste Heat Recovery Systems in Industrial Waste Heat Recovery mitigate climate change by capturing and reusing waste heat from industrial processes. By increasing energy efficiency and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, these systems lower carbon emissions, conserve resources, and promote sustainable industrial practices, contributing to climate action and energy conservation efforts.

Underlying
Technology

  • Heat Exchangers: Heat exchangers are the primary component for capturing waste heat from industrial processes. Different types of heat exchangers are selected based on the temperature, pressure, and flow rate of the waste heat stream.
  • ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) Systems: ORC systems convert low-grade waste heat into electricity, providing a valuable source of renewable energy for industrial facilities.
  • High-Temperature Heat Pumps: High-temperature heat pumps upgrade waste heat to a higher temperature level, making it suitable for reuse in the same or other processes.
  • Thermal Energy Storage: Thermal energy storage systems can store excess waste heat for later use, providing a more consistent and reliable heat supply.
  • System Integration and Control: Integrated waste heat recovery systems require sophisticated control systems to manage energy flows between different components and optimize overall system performance.

TRL : 7-8

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Hybrid Waste Heat Recovery Systems: Combining different waste heat recovery technologies, such as heat exchangers and ORC systems or heat pumps, creates more efficient and versatile solutions for various industrial applications.
  • Multi-Stage Heat Recovery: Cascaded heat recovery systems utilize multiple heat exchangers to capture waste heat at different temperature levels, maximizing energy recovery and utilization.
  • Waste Heat Recovery for Low-Temperature Applications: New technologies are being developed to recover and utilize waste heat from low-temperature sources, expanding the range of applications for waste heat recovery.
  • AI-Powered System Optimization: AI and machine learning algorithms can be used to optimize the operation of integrated waste heat recovery systems, maximizing energy efficiency and reducing costs.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Maximizing Energy Utilization through Multi-Stage Recovery
  • Low-Temperature Waste Heat Utilization
  • AI-Driven Optimization for Efficiency
  • Advanced Heat Exchanger Designs
  • ORC Systems Integration for Electricity Generation
  • High-Temperature Heat Pump Applications
  • Thermal Energy Storage Solutions
  • Waste Heat Recovery in Cement Industry
  • Steel Industry Waste Heat Utilization
  • Glass Manufacturing Heat Recovery Solutions
  • Chemical Production Waste Heat Management
  • Novel Heat Engine Technologies
  • Advanced Materials for Heat Exchangers

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. Echogen Power Systems:
    • Technology Enhancement: Echogen Power Systems specializes in waste heat recovery technology for industrial applications. Their systems capture waste heat from industrial processes and convert it into electricity or usable thermal energy using a closed-loop supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) cycle. This innovative approach offers high efficiency and scalability, enabling industrial facilities to recover and utilize waste heat effectively.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Echogen Power Systems stands out for its proprietary sCO2 cycle technology, which allows for efficient and cost-effective waste heat recovery in a wide range of industrial settings. Their systems offer advantages such as compact design, rapid deployment, and low environmental impact, making them attractive for industries seeking to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Echogen Power Systems serves industries with high-temperature waste heat sources, including steel manufacturing, cement production, chemical processing, and power generation. Their waste heat recovery systems help industrial facilities increase energy efficiency, reduce operating costs, and enhance sustainability by utilizing waste heat for onsite power generation or process heating.
  2. Ormat Technologies:
    • Technology Enhancement: Ormat Technologies is a global leader in geothermal and recovered energy generation solutions. Their waste heat recovery systems utilize Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology to convert low- to medium-temperature waste heat into electricity. Ormat’s ORC units are customized to match the specific heat source characteristics of industrial processes, providing reliable and efficient power generation.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Ormat Technologies stands out for its extensive experience in geothermal and waste heat recovery applications, offering customized solutions tailored to the needs of industrial clients. Their ORC systems are designed for seamless integration with existing industrial processes, providing a sustainable and economically viable solution for waste heat utilization.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Ormat Technologies serves a diverse range of industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing, food and beverage, and wastewater treatment. Their waste heat recovery systems are deployed in industrial facilities worldwide, helping clients improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Enertime:
    • Technology Enhancement: Enertime specializes in Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology for waste heat recovery in industrial processes. Their ORC systems utilize low- to medium-temperature waste heat sources to generate electricity or provide process heating. Enertime’s solutions are designed for flexibility and efficiency, enabling industrial clients to maximize the value of their waste heat resources.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Enertime stands out for its expertise in ORC technology and its focus on delivering customized solutions for waste heat recovery. Their systems are engineered to optimize performance, reliability, and cost-effectiveness, offering industrial clients a sustainable and competitive advantage through waste heat utilization.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Enertime serves a wide range of industrial sectors, including pulp and paper, glass manufacturing, chemical processing, and steel production. Their ORC systems are deployed in industrial facilities worldwide, helping clients reduce energy costs, enhance operational efficiency, and meet sustainability targets by harnessing waste heat for power generation or process heating.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):
    • Research Focus: NREL is a leader in research on Integrated Waste Heat Recovery Systems, focusing on developing holistic and integrated approaches to capture, convert, and utilize waste heat from industrial processes for electricity generation, heating, and cooling applications.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the development of advanced heat exchanger designs, thermoelectric materials, and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) systems optimized for diverse industrial environments and waste heat sources. They also explore system integration, control strategies, and techno-economic analysis to maximize energy recovery efficiency and economic viability.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications across various industries, including manufacturing, chemical processing, and power generation. By enabling the efficient recovery and utilization of waste heat, NREL’s research contributes to energy efficiency improvements, carbon emissions reduction, and resource conservation in industrial operations.
  2. Technical University of Munich (TUM):
    • Research Focus: TUM conducts innovative research on Integrated Waste Heat Recovery Systems, leveraging its expertise in thermodynamics, process engineering, and renewable energy technologies to develop tailored solutions for industrial waste heat utilization.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the design and optimization of integrated waste heat recovery systems, combining technologies such as heat pumps, absorption chillers, and thermal storage systems to extract maximum value from waste heat streams. They also investigate novel materials, heat transfer fluids, and system configurations to enhance energy efficiency and system performance.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in industrial clusters, district heating networks, and cogeneration plants. By recovering and reusing waste heat, TUM’s research helps industries reduce energy costs, enhance competitiveness, and achieve sustainability goals, while also contributing to the decarbonization of heat-intensive processes.
  3. University of California, Berkeley:
    • Research Focus: UC Berkeley is engaged in pioneering research on Integrated Waste Heat Recovery Systems, leveraging its multidisciplinary expertise in mechanical engineering, materials science, and environmental sustainability to develop innovative solutions for industrial energy efficiency and waste heat utilization.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the development of advanced heat exchanger technologies, waste heat recovery cycles, and thermal energy storage systems tailored to specific industrial applications and process conditions. They also explore system modeling, optimization algorithms, and machine learning techniques to improve system design, operation, and performance.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in a wide range of industrial sectors, including steelmaking, chemical processing, and food manufacturing. By unlocking the potential of waste heat as a valuable energy resource, UC Berkeley’s research supports industrial decarbonization efforts, enhances energy security, and fosters sustainable economic development.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Integrated waste heat recovery systems are being implemented in various industries around the world, particularly in energy-intensive industries such as cement, steel, glass, and chemical production. These systems are helping companies improve energy efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impact.