Heat Recovery for Electricity Generation in the Industry

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Within the electricity generation industry, waste heat is a crucial topic. Waste heat refers to the heat that is generated during electricity generation but is often wasted when it could be used for other purposes. This heat contains a lot of energy and is generated in almost every mechanical and thermal process. However, there are ways it can be recovered and converted into energy. Not only does this reduce waste, but it also provides extra energy (almost for free).

In an Italian study, researchers explored the technical and economic issues surrounding the exploitation of waste heat using ORC turbogenerators. Heat recovery is essential because when the amount of fuel utilized to produce heat using boilers is reduced, the heating efficiency automatically increases, resulting in lower fuel usage. Not only is this an economically favorable option, but it is also a greener option because carbon emissions are reduced.

The study found that heat recovery using ORC is a possible solution for multiple different industrial sectors, mainly in processes that require massive energy. This involves industries such as iron, steel, cement, and glass. The economic evaluation during the study illuminated heat recovery using ORC in a positive light, given that there are no additional fuel costs and operational (as well as maintenance) costs are relatively low.

The study concluded that Italian industries could greatly benefit from heat recovery, as the evaluation depicted an intriguing potential for generating electricity. Moreover, many examples around the world of working plants show that employing the ORC is reliable and suitable in multiple industrial sectors.

Depending on the variables, the payback time of using ORC can be between three and ten years. The price of electricity, the hours per year, and the characteristics of waste heat all affect the payback time. There have been multiple studies regarding the feasibility of such plants all around the globe.

Creative solutions to the global energy crisis, such as waste heat recovery through the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), are the future of greener energy industry. MMG Engineering employs any solution to meet our clients’ needs and the changing global climate. Waste heat recovery is one of the most interesting and promising answers to the impending question of how we can make the energy industry cleaner and more sustainable.