Waste heat costs U.S. industry more than $200 billion per year. Current state-of-the-art technologies for low-temperature waste heat recovery have failed to penetrate the market because of retro-fitting costs, scalability, and plant managers’ unfamiliarity with technologies. While a number of mature technologies (e.g., heat exchangers and steam turbines) exist for moderate to high temperature waste heat streams, no technology has been successfully marketed for low temperature streams (<250 °C).
Thermo-Flex has addressed the concerns that have previously inhibited low-temperature waste heat recovery from penetrating the market, now making it ripe for rapid adoption:
Printed Electronics are a rapidly developing industry, which is driving a price reduction and increasing material production. Used in conjunction with the existing textile industry, which already utilizes low cost and high-throughput manufacturing, creates a perfect solution for an economical low-temperature waste heat collection system. This allows the cost of the system to get below the US Department of Energy’s metric of $5/W to be economical. Additionally, the high-throughput manufacturing process allows for production scalability.
Retro-fitting costs shall be minimal. For example, steam pipes already have insulation around them. However, insulation degrades overtime and requires replacement. Thermo-Flex’s patented product shall be installed at the time of routine insulation maintenance, minimizing additional effort and costs within insulation.
Our technology is ideal for markets with high energy production that accumlates significant amounts of waste heat that are sustainability focused. Applicable markets include the following:
- In the United States, Manufacturing produces over $6 trillion of output, allowing multiple avenues to penetrate the market
- The Industrial sector accounts for 31% of all energy used in the U.S., consuming over 21,000 trillion BTU annually.
- On average, manufacturing facilities use 95.1 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity of natural gas per square foot annually.
District Heating / Steam Pipes
- The United States has an estimated 5,800 district heating and cooling systems, providing 320 million MWh of thermal energy.
- Experience from Europe suggests that these systems will continue to increase in the U.S. as sustainability goals become higher priorities in the urban development context.
- There are almost 5,000 existing or planned craft breweries in the U.S., growing at a rate of 7.2% annually
- The industry spends 3.8% of revenues on utilities.
- 18% of the energy input (heat) is lost due to flue gasses and 3% is lost due to blowdown.
- The temperatures with the greatest potential are feed water (30-90°C) and exhaust gas (220-270°C).
- Stricter EPA regulations are encouraging less GHG emissions within the utility industry, so the need for harvesting wasted heat to make power generation more efficient is needed.