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WP4 Process heating

Of the total energy used in industry approximately 2/3 is for industrial process heat of which approximately 30% is in the temperature range from 0-200˚C. The main sectors with heat demands in this range include the food processing industry, chemical industry, textile industry and the building products industry. Both energy efficient heating and cooling are required and significant scope for carbon savings exist by using alternative heat generation technologies, energy recovery or (for batch processes or with varying loads) thermal energy storage.



WP4.1 High temperature heat pumps

Prof. Hewitt (University of Ulster)

Rationale: The potential for CO2 emissions reduction from heat recovery from the food and chemicals sectors alone is greater than 1.0 MtCO2 per year (see support letter from Spirax Sarco). Current heat pump technology has a role in recovering such energy streams but is generally limited to the production of hot water in the range of 70-80 C. Whilst important, there is a limit to the number of applications where hot water can be utilised. Steam remains the energy transfer medium of choice for much of the process industry and a heat pump solution that could generate temperatures high enough to create steam would be particularly attractive as the energy recovered could be applied to all existing heat processes without the need to modify existing production processes and equipment.

Challenge: Working at these temperatures requires unconventional working fluids and means of compression and there are potential materials compatibility/corrosion issues.

Objectives / Deliverables:

Pathway to impact: Via industrial partner Spirax Sarco.


WP4.2 Thermal transformers

Prof. Critoph (University of  Warwick)

Rationale: Industrial processes commonly reject heat at temperatures of 90ºC or higher that cannot be utilised close to their source. A thermal transformer can transform some of this heat to higher useful temperatures, rejecting the remainder at close to ambient.

Challenges: Identifying suitable economically viable major processes that would benefit. Identifying physical or chemical reactions best suited to the major needs.

Objectives / Deliverables: Identification of process needs and matching reactions with potentially high efficiency. Construction of laboratory PoC to investigate heat and mass transfer limitations.

Other applications of fundamental technology: High temperature heat pumps.

Pathway to impact: Via industrial partner Spirax Sarco and SIRACH.


WP4.3 Process heat storage

Prof. Eames (Loughborough University)

Rationale: Pinch technology allows process heat flow optimisation for steady state operation. Effective thermal energy storage at a range of temperatures between 0 and 200˚C allows a temporal element to be included in the optimisation.
This enables heat flows to be optimised for batch processes and non-steady flow processes. Industrial waste heat if recovered and stored in a latent or thermochemical form with high energy density would be appropriate for transport to meet other heat demands, for example space heating in large buildings or complexes.

Challenges: Identification of suitable industrial processes for heat recovery and storage applications that would be cost effective. Identifying optimum thermal storage approach, materials and system design performance parameters.

Objectives / Deliverables: Characterisation of the potential for selected industrial processes in terms of energy reduction and CO2 savings. PoC thermal energy storage systems with operational temperatures of 120, 150 and 200˚C. Other applications of fundamental technology: Medium temperature solar thermal systems for process heat.

Pathway to impact: Via SIRACH and industrial links.

Latest progress

Click here to view the latest update of the work carried out by our research team presented in our last Workshop in March 2018 at Loughborough University.

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