High-temperature heat pump technology for sustainable steam production in industry

Friday January 29, 2016 11:35

A consortium, coordinated by ECN, is developing heat pump technology for industrial use that uses waste heat or geothermal heat to generate steam up to 200°C, significantly higher that presently possible.

The new pump technology will result in more effective ways to produce heat, which is essential in transition to a low carbon economy.

Economical and versatile applicable
The STEPS project aims to develop and implement heat pump technology that produces steam in the temperature interval 120-200°C. It does this in a way that is economically feasible and uses geothermal or industrial waste heat as source. This technology can be applied in (petro)chemical industry, refining, and paper & food industry.

Why is heat pump technology necessary?
Most industrial processes that require heat at temperature levels up to around 200°C require steam at different pressure/temperature levels. The temperature of industrial waste heat is by definition too low to be reused directly. Another abundant source of heat is geothermal energy, which is available at temperatures between 60°C and 200°C depending on the location and depth of the well. However, when heat is withdrawn, the temperature will drop (‘temperature glide’) below the required steam level. This means that without any additional measures, only a limited portion of the geothermal energy can be utilized directly. The gap that exists between the temperature level of geothermal heat or waste heat and process heat can be bridged with the aid of heat pump technology.

What technical developments are made within STEPS?
The STEPS project will develop and test two advanced heat pumps concepts, being a multistage reverse Rankine system and a single stage thermoacoustic system. Both systems fit well within the conditions given by either geothermal or waste heat source and the required process heat sink. The measurement data is used to assess techno-economic feasibility by evaluating individual business cases.

Consortium of end-users
A large industrial consortium is formed  to carry out STEPS. This consortium consists of end-users AkzoNobel, Bavaria, Dow, DSM, Heineken, Huntsman, Lamb Weston / Meijer,  Smurfit Kappa, Warmtebedrijf Rotterdam, technology suppliers Bronswerk Heat Transfer, IBK and engineering & consultancy company IF Technology. The Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT) is involved to facilitate the dissemination of the results to a broader industrial platform.

Background of STEPS
The STEPS project started recently and will run for 2,5 years. The project is partially funded by subsidy of the Ministry of Economic Affairs within the Topsector Energy.

More information
For more information on the STEPS project and efficient industrial heat production, please contact Simon Spoelstra.

Read more about heat technology in the brochure.

Category: Corporate, Energy efficiency