Heat exchanger manufacturer, EJ Bowman, is working with renewable energy specialists on the development of a system that turns the waste heat from engine exhaust gases or industrial processes into free electricity.

The solution combines CHP (combined heat & power) with ORC (organic rankine cycle) turbine generator systems. CHP enables anyone with an engine powered genset to provide heat and power from a single fuel source, but where the heating element of CHP is not required, this valuable resource can be used to create more electricity.

An ORC turbine system uses waste heat from a variety of different sources and converts it to electricity without any additional fuel being used. This ‘free’ electricity can be used to reduce energy costs, gain independence from the grid or even sell it. The advantage over solar and wind power is that ORC is predictable and measurable.

However, vital to the performance of the system is efficient and reliable heat exchanger technology.

“Historically if hot water wasn’t required there was no need to convert gensets to CHP” commented Kevin Howell, business development manager of EJ Bowman. “Now, using ORC, this waste heat can be used to generate extra power for no extra fuel. At Bowman, we believe that ORC systems could radically change the power generation industry.”

An ORC Turbine Generator is a closed cycle electrical power generation system driven by an external heat source. No internal combustion is needed. The ORC generator uses an organic working fluid with a lower boiling point than water to generate electrical power. ‘Organic’ is a chemical term for the refrigerant type fluids commonly used in the closed cycle.

Several companies have now fully developed ORC equipment, bringing it within the reach of smaller scale processes where waste heat is produced as a by-product.

“With the ORC system becoming available in greater volume and lower cost, we believe a significant opportunity exists for many industrial and commercial customers to benefit from lower energy costs and greater control over their electricity supply.” commented Howell.