Publications / 2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada

Recycling Low Grade Waste Heat to Electricity

N. Razavinia, F. Mucciardi, F. Hassani, M. Al-Khawaja
Pages 1085-1092 (2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada, ISBN 978-1-62993-294-1, ISSN 2413-5844)

Most mining and metallurgical industries produce relatively large quantities of low grade waste heat which they vent, for the most part, to the environment. To date, little is being done to recover some of this heat and transform it from low grade to a high grade energy form such as electricity. A few decades back this was also true of paper, plastics and metals. Recycling was not a prominent activity. Today, we all know that it is and that recycling is a must for sustainable development. To this end, we feel that we are now at that point in time when the recycling of waste heat to electricity must be given serious consideration. By recycling waste heat one can achieve at least one if not two of the following benefits: 1) reduction in the carbon footprint – by improving the overall energy efficiency of a process, and 2) production of electricity at an economically viable cost

We have developed a process that captures, concentrates and converts (3 C’s) waste heat to electricity. The process comprises 3 distinct interacting units. The first unit captures and concentrates waste heat using heat pipe technology. The second unit converts some of the concentrated heat to mechanical work which can then be readily converted to electricity. This unit is based on the classical piston/cylinder engine arrangement that is widely used by consumers to power systems with compressed air, for example. The third unit of the process dissipates the heat that the engine cannot convert to high grade energy. It also uses heat pipe technology to achieve this. The combination of the 3 units forms a unique system for recycling waste heat. This paper describes the system and it presents some results that show how the system can be made to be economically viable.

Keywords: Waste heat, low grade energy, geothermal energy, heat pipe, external combustion engine, energy recovery, electricity