Collecting Waste Heat From Small Power Plants

The use of waste heat to increase the efficiency of engines is a relatively new development. Dutch company Triogen is already making successful use of this 'Organic Rankine Cycle' in gas engines and the generation of extra-renewable electricity by burning wood. The heat from the exhaust gas produced in the process cuts fuel consumption by 8% to 10%.

Organic Rankine Cycle generator

Organic Rankine Cycle generator

Image: Triogen

A new application may be waste heat from diesel engines, but its use in the Netherlands has only limited financial potential. 'That does not apply when it is an export product, however', says Jos van Buijtenen, one of the founders of Triogen. 'For remote areas and islands in Africa and Indonesia – as well as in Spain, Portugal and Greece (where diesel generators are widely used) – this technique would be a godsend!'

'To access this application and these markets, we would like to establish a solid demonstration project', Mr. van Buijtenen adds. 'This is because its use in diesel engines demands a different approach. Here, the exhaust gases are cooler and emit different, more polluting, elements. Even here, however, we think that we can achieve efficiency improvements of 8% to 10%. And since the price of fuel in remote places is relatively high, we feel that this is a huge opportunity for us.'

Seeing is believing

Over the past years Triogen have developed their product to the point at which it is ready for the market. Now the company wants to show that this application can be successful.

'In searching for a site, we are seeking to ally ourselves with a partner/operator/distributor who can make a suitable site of this kind available. As far as we are concerned, the project will be a success once the demo installation is up and running, when numerous visitors are calling in to see it, and when it is being used as a reference for generating new business,' says Mr. van Buijtenen.

What is Organic Rankine Cycle?

The Organic Rankine Cycle is a thermodynamic process where heat is transferred to a fluid at a constant pressure. The fluid is vaporized and then expanded in a vapor turbine that drives a generator, producing electricity.

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