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Brunel powerhouse for £700,000 drive against industrial energy waste


Brunel’s world-leading tech, design and engineering brains will lead a new £700,000 push to cut energy waste in Europe’s ceramics, steel and aluminium industries.

Intensely energy-hungry industries such as metal, steel and ceramics production spend about 40% of running costs on energy and fuels and put out serious amounts of CO2.

Neither sits well with the EU 2014 Energy/Climate package’s 2030 goal of cutting global greenhouse gas GHG emissions by 40% and increasing energy efficiency by 27%.

Waste energy recovery systems can be a way to claw back some of the costs, but systems made for these industries so far have failed to turn a profit.

Backed by Europe’s Horizon 2020 fund, Project ETEKINA, (Heat Pipe Technology for Thermal Energy Recovery in Industrial Applications) kicks off in October. Brunel, an international name in heat pipe technology, will design three heat pipe based heat exchangers, to be made by UK firm ECONOTHERM and tested in Spain, Slovenia and Italy.

Led by Hussam Jouhara at the Institute of Energy Futures, the Brunel team is the project’s technical co-ordinator. They need to overcome challenges such as space, transport and integrating heat from separate processes and corrosive waste heat sources.

The heat recovery systems they’ll develop will need to be safe, self-cleaning and have online monitoring and use the same mechanical design. The Brunel team will test a range of designs from steam generators and condensers to recouperators and evaluate each on the amount and quality of waste heat streams and the form of heat energy needed.

The potential market for waste heat recovery systems in large scale industry is incredible, says Dr Jouhara. “ETEKINA could be easily used in 296 industries where it has potential applications in plastic and chemical production. The potential for heat pipes is exponentially growing with a substantial annual energy saving.”

Besides making a cleaner healthier environment, recycling waste heat is particularly important for European industry because Europe’s higher electricity prices make it harder to compete worldwide.

The NASA first developed heat pipes in 1955 as a heat sink for an aircraft transmitter transistor. They are now used across industries for Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and mostly to reuse waste heat.

Reported by:

Hayley Jarvis, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268176