Why we’re focused on low-grade waste heat?

November 13, 2023

Globally, as we search for sustainable energy sources and take action to mitigate climate change, the focus is generally on cutting-edge renewables like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. However, this approach ignores a highly underutilised energy resource: low-grade waste heat generated from industrial processes. Capturing and utilising this unusable waste heat not only holds promise for clean energy generation but also presents a compelling solution for reducing emissions and enhancing industrial efficiency.

Industrial processes across various sectors, including manufacturing and power generation, inherently produce large amounts of waste heat as a by-product of their operations. This waste heat, often considered low-grade due to its relatively low temperature, is typically released into the atmosphere or waterways, contributing to environmental pollution and energy inefficiency.

Our Vortex technology harnesses the opportunity to capture and utilise this waste heat for productive purposes. Using the low-grade wasted heat, we will create a controllable atmospheric buoyancy vortex [imagine a waterspout]. The circulating wind currents produced by this vortex will drive a turbine to generate electrical power, enabling industrial manufacturers to reduce their fuel and carbon emissions consumption to produce a given amount of electricity. Our solution is based on the physics principles that nature uses to solve the problem of excess heat.

The development and deployment of technologies such as ours that are capable of capturing low-grade waste heat offer multiple benefits for both the environment and industry:

  • Clean Energy Generation: By harnessing low-grade waste heat, industries can supplement their energy needs with renewable sources, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing carbon emissions. This clean energy can power on-site operations or be integrated into existing grids, contributing to a more sustainable energy mix.
  • Enhanced Industrial Efficiency: Utilising waste heat not only generates clean energy but also improves the overall efficiency of industrial processes. By recycling heat that would otherwise be wasted, companies can optimise their operations, reduce energy consumption, and lower production costs.
  • Emission Reduction: One of the most significant advantages of capturing low-grade waste heat is its potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Cost Savings: In addition to environmental benefits, harnessing low-grade waste heat can lead to cost savings for industrial facilities. By utilising free or low-cost energy sources, companies can reduce their reliance on paying for fossil fuels.

As a deep tech company, we understand the challenges of widespread adoption and implementation of technologies that convert low-grade waste heat. Technical hurdles, such as system complexity, cost-effectiveness, and scalability, have to be addressed to make waste heat recovery economically viable for industries of all sizes.

But despite the challenges, the upside of adopting successful technologies cannot be ignored. Approximately 50% of the world’s total energy consumption is lost in industrial heat processes, enough energy to power more than 3 billion households globally, equivalent to the annual power consumption of the US, China, and India combined - 63% of this process heat is considered unusable and is discharged into the atmosphere or our waterways which is why the momentum behind waste heat recovery is growing. As we continue to develop our innovative solutions for clean energy generation and emission reduction, harnessing low-grade waste heat presents a compelling opportunity to address environmental concerns and meet our future energy needs in a sustainable manner.

The team from Vortex are excited to be part of solving this significant challenge. By leveraging this abundant yet often overlooked resource, we can pave the way towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations to come.

Related posts

View all
View all