What is Industrial Waste Heat Recovery?

Industrial waste heat recovery (WHR) is the process of capturing the waste heat generated by industrial processes and repurposing or reusing it.

Industrial processes typically use and/or produce vast amounts of waste heat, which is often underutilized or overlooked entirely. However, companies can increase the energy efficiency of their operations by reusing this waste heat.

Repurposing Industrial Waste Heat

In some instances, the waste heat generated by one industrial process can be used to facilitate a secondary on-site process. Known as ‘process waste heat recovery’, this allows waste heat to be utilized within a plant’s process streams. 

However, secondary processes rarely require all of the waste heat that’s produced on site, which means a significant amount of heat is released into the atmosphere and/or via wastewater. Furthermore, some sites simply don’t need heat to facilitate secondary processes, meaning that all of the heat used or generated is wasted. 

Fortunately, there are additional ways to utilize this waste heat in order to increase the sustainability of industrial operations. By converting waste heat to clean, carbon-free electricity, for example, industrial firms can reduce CO2 emissions, increase energy efficiency and decrease costs. 

Industrial Waste Heat Recovery with HeatPower

With leading low temperature conversion efficiency rates, Climeon’s HeatPower technology ensures waste heat can be recovered and repurposed from a wider variety of industrial processes, thus reducing emissions and enabling facility owners to generate an increased amount of sustainable electricity on site.

The Climeon HeatPower waste heat recovery system uses a modified version of the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) to produce clean energy from waste heat and functions as a closed loop, relying on working media to facilitate the process of electricity generation. 

Firstly, a waste heat source, such as cooling water, is routed to a heat exchanger within the HeatPower unit, which functions as an evaporator. A second heat exchanger is connected to a cold source (typically cold water) and this acts as a condenser. A circulation pump and turbine are also incorporated into the closed loop waste heat recovery system, to facilitate the ORC process.

As the evaporator and condenser alter the flow pressure, it propels the turbine and allows clean electricity to be produced.

A moving diagram showing Climeon's HeatPower technology and depicting the industrial waste heat recovery conversion process.
Climeon's HeatPower system uses a modified Organic Rankine Cycle to transform industrial waste heat into clean, carbon-free energy.

Continuous Clean Electricity with Closed Loop ORC Systems

As HeatPower operates as a closed loop system, clean electricity can be continually generated, providing both the hot source (waste heat) and cold source remain available.

By using HeatPower ORC Industrial Waste Heat Recovery Systems, facility owners can, therefore, produce carbon-free electricity on site, whenever waste heat is being generated by ongoing industrial processes.

What Are the Benefits of Industrial Waste Heat Recovery Technologies?

Using waste heat to generate sustainable power in an industrial environment can be advantageous for many reasons, such as:

Reduced CO2 Emissions

Industry is the third largest emitter of CO2, both throughout Europe and worldwide (IEA, 2022). Despite widespread calls for environmental reform, industrial emissions have risen by more than 70% since 2000. As a result, heavy industries, such as cement, iron and steel, are not on track to achieve the ‘Fit for 55’ emissions targets by 2030.

Increasing industrial energy efficiency is key to reducing harmful emissions and waste heat recovery delivers a viable, proven solution that can be applied across a variety of industrial sectors. 

By using waste heat to generate clean electricity, industrial firms can generate meaningful and verifiable emissions reductions, thus minimizing their environmental impact and enhancing the sustainability of their brand. 

Lower OPEX

The recent increase in energy prices has highlighted the need for reliable, low-cost energy, particularly for commercial entities. As industrial waste heat recovery systems convert an overlooked byproduct into a valuable commodity, industrial plants can reduce their energy expenditure by generating electricity on site and minimizing their reliance on fuel-powered generators or high commercial energy tariffs.

As governments seek to incentivize industrial firms via carbon taxes, companies can further reduce their OPEX by lowering emissions and meeting applicable environmental targets. As a result, integrating waste heat recovery systems into industrial sites gives companies the opportunity to lower operating costs while reducing their carbon footprint.

Increased Energy Stability

Access to reliable energy sources is critical in an industrial setting. While the recent energy crisis raised concerns regarding the accessibility of electricity in some regions, energy stability is also an issue when transitioning to renewable power.

Climeon’s HeatPower 300 Industry units produce non-weather dependent, on-site clean energy, which ensures continued access to sustainable power and safeguards access to reliable, clean energy.

Modular and Scalable

The modular and scalable design of Climeon’s HeatPower technology ensures that industrial waste heat recovery systems can be tailored to the specific needs of industrial companies and sectors. From single units for moderate industrial waste heat generators to integrated systems for high waste heat outputs, Climeon’s HeatPower system provides a flexible and effective method of sustainable power generation. 

Industrial Waste Heat Recovery with HeatPower

Delivering environmental, financial and operational benefits, Climeon’s HeatPower technology provides industrial companies with the opportunity to accelerate their sustainability strategies, reduce emissions and generate cost savings. 

While heavy industries have long been associated with fossil fuels and high emissions, new technologies, like industrial waste heat recovery, herald a new era of sustainable industrial processes.

To find out how HeatPower can enhance your operations, talk to our in-house experts today.