Waste heat recovery systems are among the most economical ways to increase the overall efficiency of the plant and while lowering fuel demand. Large quantities of the fuel used to produce power in conventional power plants is wasted due to the limitations of the power conversion processes. Exhaust gas of various processes carry a huge amount of energy, also referred to as waste heat. Often industrial processes produce enough waste heat to generate electricity. Waste heat recovery units (WHRUs) or heat to power units could recover the waste heat and transform it into electricity by using, for example, an organic Rankine cycle (ORC). Any exhaust gas stream with temperatures above 250°F has the potential for significant waste heat recovery. The waste heat temperature is a key factor determining waste heat recovery feasibility. Waste heat temperatures can vary significantly. In order to enable heat transfer and recovery, it is necessary that the waste heat source temperature is higher than the heat sink temperature.
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Consumers of waste heat recovery systems include plant process heating, combustion air pre-heating, boiler feed water pre-heating, steam ejectors, ORC generators, and building comfort heat. Often, waste heat is of low temperature quality. It can be difficult to efficiently utilize the heat contained. In these cases ORC technology can bring an additional benefit to raise the overall plant efficiency. The ORC unit utilizes this otherwise wasted energy and converts it into power.
In the upstream oil & gas segment the need for heating process fluid is required in floating production storage and offloading vessels (FPSO), offshore process platforms, and onshore processing units. This is done by harnessing the waste heat available in the exhaust gases, leaving the gas turbine generator (GTG) or the process gas compressor drives (PGC).
Decentralized power supply is another trend in the world’s growing demand for energy. While many regions do not have access to centralized power supply yet the local infrastructure still demands electricity. Independent power supply makes use of any available fuels, be it biomass, household refuse, or waste heat from an industrial process.
Based on technology, waste heat recovery systems can be classified into: complete closed loop systems, combustion air preheat systems, and high particulate systems.Based on application, waste heat recovery systems can be classified into recuperators, regenerators, rotary heat exchangers, heat pumps, and economizers.Based on the application, waste heat recovery systems can be classified into low temperature range (0–120°C), medium temperature range (120–650°C) and high temperature range (650°C and above)
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Major players in the waste heat recovery systems market are Bosch Industriekessel GmbH, Sigma Thermal, Dresser-Rand-Ingersoll, Cain Industries, Ecogen Power Systems, Borsig GmbH, The Maersk Group, Siemens AG, Thermax Global, and Ci-Tech Energy Recovery Systems.
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