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Exploring the Benefits of Waste Heat to Power (WHP)

For industrial processes, particularly those that involve transforming raw materials into useful products, waste heat is inevitable, but that does not mean that there aren’t solutions and technologies available to your organization to not only recover that waste, but to also benefit from it. While waste heat to power programs are certainly not new to manufacturers, the advancements in technology and alternate power cycles are making WHP a more viable option for industrial use. What’s more, benefits are varied, with both financial and environmental benefits that make considering WHP well worth your time. 

What is Waste Heat to Power (WHP)?

According to the EIA, “as much as 20% to 50% of the energy consumed in some industrial processes is ultimately lost through waste heat contained in streams of hot exhaust gas and liquids and through heat conduction, convection, and radiation from hot equipment surfaces and heated product streams. The overall energy efficiency of some industrial processes can be improved by capturing and reusing the waste heat.”

WHP is the process of recovering that waste heat and using it to generate power without any combustion or emissions. In a nutshell, WHP allows various industries to use their waste heat to produce electricity, bringing with it the added benefit of numerous financial and functional benefits. By using WHP to capture the lost heat to generate emission-free electricity, industrial users can effectively put their wasted energy back into use (either in the process that created it or somewhere else in the facility). There is also the option to sell the power back into the grid. In some cases, efficiency improvements resulting from waste heat recovery can improve energy efficiency 10%–50%.

What Type of Organization is WHP Ideal for?

WHP is ideal for energy-intensive industries, such as steel mills, paper plants, chemical plants, refineries, furnaces, cement kilns, and general manufacturers.

For example, let’s say a chemical manufacturing plant wants to take advantage of the excess heat being produced in the manufacturing process. Instead of letting all the waste vent into the atmosphere, WHP can position the facility to utilize the waste heat to produce power with no additional fuel and no additional emissions. The facility would have the option of using that power internally, or to sell the electricity back to the utility. Both the cost savings and environmental benefits of this hypothetical situation would be significant, depending on the size and scope of the facility and its annual wasted heat.

While the efficiency of generating power from waste heat recovery is heavily dependent upon the temperature of the waste heat source, emerging technologies are beginning to lower those temperature thresholds. Typical waste heat streams are around 100,000 ACFM and around 800F generating roughly 2-5 MW of power. 

Ready to learn more? We’re ready to start the exploratory process with you. Give our team a call at 310.775.3188 or reach out via email mlewis@appienergy.com. Our team is technology agnostic, meaning we’ll work for you and with you to decide if WHP is a viable solution for your facility. Additionally, our assessments are at no upfront cost or obligation to you.