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Waste Heat Recovery Innovation – how grant funds help

Following the UK government spending review and the pledge of innovation funding to develop low carbon technology and a focus on the re-use of industrial waste heat to help towards decarbonisation targets, the innovation work to improve the return on investment for WHR technologies such as Organic Rankine Cycle ORC generators continues. To date the conversion of low temperature industrial waste heat to low carbon electricity technology has been slow to be installed, mostly only integrated with the support of grant funding to help meet the hurdle rates of return on investments of heat intensive industries. These grant funded projects have helped pave the way to trial the best available WHR techniques and technologies and lead to further innovation to improve the installed cost per kW. The grants from central European programmes such as Horizon 2020 to European member state grants such as Innovate UK, to Regional Grant Funds for development zone areas have all played their part in commercialising ORC technology.

In addition to grant funding to improve the electrical generating efficiencies of ORC technology the funds have been applied to technical challenges of industrial process applications. An example of this is the collaboration between Heatcatcher and the University of Sussex under the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, is using the support to mitigate the effects of abrasive exhaust gas dust on heat exchangers. The objective of the collaboration is to optimise the design of gravitational de-dusters required to protect the ORC heat exchanger from the abrasive dust particles found in the cement industries cooler exhaust gas.

The University of Sussex is applying its multi-phase Computational Fluid Dynamic CFD skills and laboratory analysis equipment to understand the nature of the dust and then model flow patterns. The model is then tested with geometric features to determine optimum size and shape for dust particle removal.

Cement Clinker Cooler exhaust gas dust under the microscope

CFD analysis of dust particle behaviour in a gravitational de-duster model

In summary the outcome of the grant funded collaboration will serve to demonstrate to the Cement Industry, how the technical challenges of recovering waste heat from kiln and cooler exhaust gasses are mitigated, whilst reducing plant build costs to further improve the economics of WHR installations.

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