Energy saving conviction from convection

Recovering low-and medium-grade waste heat from industrial processes potentially offers substantial energy savings, according to a recent review by Australia’s Energy Transformed Flagship.


Recovering low- and medium-grade waste heat from industrial processes potentially offers substantial energy savings, according to a recent review by Australia’s Energy Transformed Flagship, which is developing clean affordable energy and transport technologies.



The Energy Transformed Flagship also recommends using satellite technology to map Australia’s hot spots.



The high-temperature processes used in producing commodities such as alumina, base metals, iron, steel and cement generate waste heats in various forms.



According to CSIRO Minerals research scientist Dr John Sanderson, who led the review, little is being done to recover low- to medium-grade waste heat, normally less than 500oC), which accounts for more than half of the total heat generated in industry.



‘Capturing this energy could help the industry improve its environmental performance and realise substantial energy savings,’ he said.



The review identified practical opportunities for additional recovery within key mineral processing industries, as well as the need for mapping key waste-heat emission hot spots in Australia.



‘We’ve been working with CSIROLand and Water to investigate the potential of their thermal imaging data processing in this area,’ Dr Sanderson said.



Derived from NASA’s MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) satellite data, the technology was originally developed to assist with bushfire monitoring.



‘It’s a reasonable assumption that thermal imaging data could be used to identify large waste-heat emissions from all industry sectors, not just minerals processing,’ Dr Sanderson said.



The review recommends a pilot study of the MODIS technology and its application to the minerals processing industry, as well as further R&D to improve existing heat exchangers and heat cycles.