Ever notice that when politicians tour a factory they remove their sportcoats? If you’ve walked an industrial plant you know it can be a pretty sweaty experience. An energy engineer knows this heat can represent a big energy efficiency opportunity.
The most common waste heat recovery application reuses flue or stack heat to produce hot water. With heat exchangers tightly coupled to machines the heat can be captured into water and transported into another hot water process thereby reducing boiler loads. Where an industrial process is less continuous, hot water storage tanks (energy storage) can be added, which cost more, but enable the time shifting use of the waste heat. Where an industrial process produces extremely high temperatures exhaust (1000 degree +) a potentially more powerful opportunity exists – turning this heat into steam, a much higher density energy source than hot water.