Huntsman UK trials new waste-heat power system


Redcar, UK – DRD Power has installed its first heat recovery system, which uses Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology to generate electrical power using waste heat from industrial process and manufacturing plants.

The system is one of the first in the world to generate electricity from low-grade heat, in the form of waste steam or hot water, at temperatures as low as 90ºC, said DRD, which is based Redcar in north east England.

The company’s first ORC unit is currently being trialled at Huntsman Pigments’ titanium dioxide manufacturing plant in Hartlepool, County Durham and has already achieved over 3,000 running hours, operating 24/7.

The system generates over 100kW of electricity for Huntsman from a hot water waste stream, and is designed to operate with either low pressure steam or hot water from the Huntsman process plant. The unit is currently using waste hot water at temperatures between 95ºC and 98ºC.

DRD worked with Glasgow-based cooling and heating specialist Star Refrigeration on the research, design, construction and commissioning of the unit. The two companies are currently working together on further ORC projects.

The system, which features a refrigeration compressor running in reverse to drive an electrical generator, is said to give operators of large-scale process plants and manufacturing facilities an economically viable ORC solution.

ORC systems using lower temperature heat sources are typically installed at massive geo-thermal plants and are generally not economical for chemical process plants or industrial manufacturing facilities.

“Conventional ORC heat recovery systems use heat sources such as high pressure steam at temperatures above 130ºC to generate electricity,” said DRD’s Clive Whitbourn