Molten material being poured into a vessel

The Energy Transformed Flagship report highlighted the potential for substantial energy savings through recovering waste heat.

Identifying and recovering heat energy

A review by the Energy Transformed Flagship recommends identifying waste-heat hot-spots with the potential for electricity generation.

  • 1 November 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011

Scope of the review

A recent review by the Energy Transformed Flagship highlights the potential for substantial energy savings through recovering waste heat, and recommends using satellite technology to map the nation’s hot spots.

The high-temperature processes used in producing commodities such as alumina, base metals, iron, steel and cement generate waste heats in various forms, including off-gases, liquids and solids.

Many operators have implemented some form of waste-heat recovery system for high-grade energy (greater than 500 °C).

But according to CSIRO Minerals Research Scientist Dr John Sanderson, who led the review project, little is being done to recover low- to medium-grade waste heat, which accounts for more than half of the total heat generated in industry.

'Capturing this energy could help the industry improve its environmental performance and realise substantial energy savings,' Dr Sanderson says.

Recommendations

The Flagship’s comprehensive review of waste heat recovery technologies has identified practical opportunities for additional recovery within key mineral processing industries.

Some technologies, however, need adaptation to suit the harsh environments of these operations.

“Capturing this energy could help the industry improve its environmental performance and realise substantial energy savings.”
Dr John Sanderson, Research Scientist, CSIRO Minerals

The review also identified the need for mapping key waste-heat emission hot spots in Australia.

'We’ve been working with CSIRO Land and Water to investigate the potential of their thermal imaging data processing in this area,' says Dr Sanderson.

Derived from NASA’s MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) satellite data, the technology was originally developed to assist with bushfire monitoring.

'It’s a reasonable assumption that thermal imaging data could be used to identify large waste heat emissions from all industry sectors, not just minerals processing,' says Dr Sanderson.

'Developing a national picture of waste heat emissions would allow us to identify those areas with high waste heat recovery and electricity generation potential.'

The review recommends a pilot study of the MODIS technology and its application to the minerals processing industry, as well as further research and development to improve existing heat exchangers and heat cycles.

'We are also seeking early industry involvement to support the development of improved heat recovery concepts,' Dr Sanderson says.

Learn more about high-temperature processing of ores.

  • This article is from Process October 2006.