Company Developing Thermo-Electric Materials for Waste-Heat Energy Recovery

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, has licensed patents on high-temperature thermoelectric materials to Evident Technologies, Troy, New York, which provides these kinds of materials and related power systems.


>” […] Thermoelectric materials convert heat into electricity. For example, by using this technology, waste-heat from a car could potentially be fed back into the vehicle and used to generate electricity. This would increase efficiency and deliver low-cost solutions for harvesting waste heat.

“The licensed technology could be applied to convert heat into electricity in a number of waste heat recovery applications, including automobile exhaust and high-temperature industrial processes such as ceramic and glass processing plants,” said Thierry Caillat, task leader for the thermoelectrics team at JPL.

JPL has a long history of high-temperature thermoelectric development driven by the need for space mission power in the absence of sunlight. Many space probes that leave Earth’s orbit use thermoelectrics as their electrical power source.  […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development


Closed Loop Cooling Saves Millions of Gallons of Water in Texas Combined Cycle Natural Gas Power Plant


>” […] Instead of water, each of the two plants will use two powerful air-cooled “Harriet” gas turbines and one air-cooled steam turbine developed by GE. “The technology uses the same cooling principle as the radiator in your car,” Harris says. “You blow in the air and it cools the medium flowing in closed loops around the turbines.”

The power plants, which are expected to open next year, will be using a so-called combined cycle design (see image below) and produce power in two steps. First, the two gas turbines (in the center with exhaust stacks) extract energy from burning natural gas and use it to spin electricity generators. But they also produce waste heat.

The system sends the waste heat to a boiler filled with water, which produces steam that drives a steam turbine to extract more energy and generate more power.

But that’s easier said than done. The steam inside the steamturbine moves in a closed loop and needs to be cooled down back to water so it could be heated up again in the boiler. “Normally, we cool this steam with water, which evaporates and cools down in huge mechanical cooling towers,” says GE engineer Thomas Dreisbach. “A lot of the cooling water escapes in those huge white clouds you sometimes see rising from towers next to power plants.” The Exelon design is using a row of powerful fans and air condensers (rear right) to do the trick and save water.

Similar to the steam turbines, GE’s Harriet gas turbines also use air to chill a closed loop filled with the coolant glycol and reduce the temperature inside the turbine. The combined efficiency of the plant will approach 61 percent, which in the power-generation industry is like running a sub 4-minute mile. […]”<



See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Thermoelectric Solid-State Cooling Technology Wins $44.5M Funding

The near-term applications for Phononic’s science are high-end refrigeration for labs and medical facilities, as well as cooling for fiber optics and data servers that are “necessary to continue Moore’s law,” according to the company.


>” […] The 75-employee Phononic develops thermoelectrics — materials that can convert a temperature gradient to a voltage or vice versa. The technology is a brilliant pursuit, but no one has brought it to mass markets economically or at scale just yet. Traditional thermoelectrics use materials such as bismuth telluride or silicon germanium, and more recently, silicon nanowires.

[…] Phononic is looking to develop thermal management technology for consumer devices, and, more strikingly, to replace cheap, ubiquitous and century-old incumbent compressor technology.

CEO Anthony Atti told us this morning that the investment thesis around Phononic is that “semiconductors have revolutionized IT and LEDs, but have not had that same impact on cooling and heating.” He notes that Phononic’s thermoelectric technology is in the realm of Peltier cooling technology, but addresses three major shortcomings of that technology: efficiency, ability to scale, and ease of integration. […]

Atti claims that the compound semiconductor material used in his firm’s thermoelectrics can be manufactured using high-volume, standard semiconductor tools and equipment.

Bruce Sohn, the former president of First Solar, is on the board at Phononic. When we spoke with him this morning, he told us that he had been working with the firm for four years and believes the startup is doing something “revolutionary that can do to compressors what the [integrated circuit] did to the vacuum tube.”

Other companies developing thermoelectric technologies for cooling or capturing waste heat include the following:

  • Alphabet Energy is commercializing thermoelectric waste-heat harvesting technology developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has raised more than $30 million from Encana, a developer of natural gas and other energy sources,
  • TPG Biotech, Claremont Creek Ventures, and the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund.GMZ Energy, spun out of MIT with funding from KPCB, BP Alternative Energy, and Mitsui Ventures, is working on a bismuth-telluride thermovoltaic device that converts solar heat directly into power via the Seebeck effect. In the Seebeck effect, a sharp temperature gradient can result in an electric charge.
  • MTPV describes its product as a thermophotovoltaic. MTPV uses a silicon-based MEMS emitter which takes heat and transfers radiation to a germanium-based photovoltaic device, according to an article inSemiconductor Manufacturing and Design. The company just raised $11.2 million led by Northwater Capital Management’s Intellectual Property Fund, along with Total Energy Ventures, SABIC, the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, and follow-on investments from Spinnaker Capital, Ensys Capital, the Clean Energy Venture Group and other existing shareholders.
  • Silicium, funded by Khosla Ventures, is investigating high ZT thermoelectrics. The firm’s website claims, “Silicium is developing silicon thermoelectrics that enable substantially increased battery longevity for wearable electronics. By using body heat, Silicium technology can help power an entire spectrum of wearable devices…using off-the-shelf silicon wafers.
  • “Recycled Energy Development (RED) and Ormat have retrofitted factories to capture waste heat, not using thermoelectrics, but by adding CHP or cogeneration. […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Commercial ORC Used for Waste Heat Recovery on Industrial Electric Arc Furnace

Turboden, a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has implemented the first ORC-based heat recovery plant on an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) in the world


>” […] The heat recovery system was started up on December 2013. It is connected to the off-gas treatment system of the melting electric furnace. The recovered energy reduces net power consumption, allowing significant CO2 reduction.

In addition to electricity production, the remaining portion of the steam is fed into the Riesa Municipal steam supply system and used in a nearby tire factory production process.

Turboden designs, develops and implements generation plants, allowing reduction of industrial energy consumption and emissions containment through heat recovery from unexploited residual heat streams and exhaust gases in production processes and power plants.

This technology is best applied in energy-intensive industries such as glass, cement, aluminum, iron & steel, where production processes typically generate exhaust gases above 250°C.

These new plants not only provide advantages in terms of environmental sustainability, emissions reduction, increased industrial process efficiency and improved business performance, but they also represent opportunities for increased competitiveness.”<

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) Heat Recovery Technology For Ships

The company has developed a marine Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system for waste heat recovery and power generation that could reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%.


“> […] Enertime’s ORC system produces between 500kW and 1MW of electrical power depending on the available amount of heat. The unit is based on a tailor-made axial turbine and is specifically designed to work in the marine environment. The development work has involved shipyards, shipowners and a classification society, says Mr David.

“Compared to a steam power cycle, ORC systems need very low maintenance, display good part-load efficiency, high availability and can be operated without permanent monitoring,” he said. “Daily operation and maintenance can be carried out without specific qualification.”

The ORC system can work with any kind of heat source. The unit can recover heat from a number of different sources singly or in combination including low-temperature jacket cooling from engines, steam or thermal oil systems and pressurised hot water. Exhaust gas from engines or auxiliaries is the main available heat on board ships, and it can be collected through an exhaust gas heat exchanger and brought to the ORC unit using steam, pressurised water or thermal oil. […]

The ORC layout is flexible and the unit can also be installed as a retrofit where it is possible to adapt the layout of the machinery to specific constraints by splitting it on different levels, for example.

“This kind of system would be very interesting for bulk carriers, small to medium size oil tankers, ferry boats, small container ships… with payback time between two to five years,” […]”<


See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Energy Efficiency Methods in the Cement industry – Part 1: Organic Rankine Cycle

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Thomas B. Gibbons takes a look at the Conventional Rankine Cycle’s application in the cement sector

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The first major waste heat recovery (WHR) system in a cement plant was the 15 MW unit installed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries for Taiheiyo Cement in 1982. This was a conventional Rankine Cycle using heat from both the kiln and the clinker cooler. As the benefits became generally recognised within the industry, WHR units, the vast majority of which involved the conventional Rankine Cycle, were installed to provide up to about 30% of the power requirements of the plant. The main sources of waste heat were the exhaust from both the preheater and the clinker cooler and, in some of the developing countries where power outages are not unusual, the WHR system may be the only source of reliable power available to the plant operator.

Improvement in the overall efficiency of cement manufacture has resulted in lower exhaust gas temperatures and this development has provided opportunities for alternative technologies, notably the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and the Kalina Cycle, which are more effective in recovering waste heat from lower temperature gases.<

See on

Applied Thermodynamics: Organic Rankine cycle – Wikipedia

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

We have all seen the Rankine Cycle engine, most typically as the inefficient steam locomotive.  The modern efficient designs use turbines to convert heat energy from two reservoirs of different temperatures to mechanical energy.

The Organic Rankine Cycle engine uses a fluid – vapor phase change other than water/steam and a wide range of compounds are available including proprietory mixtures.  These mixtures allow for the conversion to mechanical energy in a wide range of applications and temperatures.  Two such applications would be waste heat to energy and geothermal energy systems.

See on