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£1.2m project aims to turn waste heat into electricity

21 November, 2016

A UK consortium has embarked on a three-year research programme to explore the potential for converting low-temperature waste heat into useful electrical power. The project, led by steam engineering specialist Spirax Sarco, has received a £1.24m grant from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

An estimated 70% of the energy used in the UK industrial sector is for thermal processes such as furnaces, reactors and boilers, and a third of this energy is wasted through losses. The project aims to develop a heat-to-power system based on the Controlled Phase Cycle (CPC), which converts up to three times more heat to electricity than the widely-used Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC).

Building on successful small-scale trials, the consortium – which includes Howden Compressors and Brunel University – hopes to develop a commercial offering to target an estimated 300TWh of heat available in European industry and beyond.

Project leader Professor Jeremy Miller, who is group research and solutions manager at Spirax Sarco, believes that the project will address a real gap in the market. “Our aim is to overcome the limitations of conventional technologies and provide benefits to both potential users and the UK economy,” he says.

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