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Publication Name: Electricity generation from low temperature industrial excess heat an opportunity for the steel industry
Original File Name Searched: fulltext01 (2).pdf
Page Number: 001

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Electricity generation from low temperature industrial excess heat – an opportunity for the steel industry

Maria T Johanssona,b*, Mats Söderström a

a Department of Management and Engineering, Division of Energy Systems, Linköping University, SE- 58183 Linköping, Sweden

b Department of Technology and Built Environment, Division of Energy and Mechanical Engineering, University of Gävle, SE-80176 Gävle, Sweden

* Corresponding author: fax: +46 (0)13 281788; E-mail address:


Awareness of climate change and the threat of rising energy prices have resulted in increased attention being paid to energy issues, and industry seeing a cost benefit in using more energy- efficient production processes. One energy-efficient measure is the recovery of industrial excess heat. However, this option has not been fully investigated and some of the technologies for recovery of excess heat are not yet commercially available.

This paper proposes three technologies for the generation of electricity from low temperature industrial excess heat. The technologies are thermoelectric generation, organic Rankine cycle and phase change material engine system. The technologies are evaluated in relation to each other, with regard to temperature range of the heat source, conversion efficiency, capacity and economy.

Because the technologies use heat of different temperature ranges, there is potential for concurrent implementation of two or more of these technologies. Even if the conversion efficiency of a technology is low, it could be worthwhile to utilise if there is no other use for the excess heat.

The iron and steel industry is energy intensive and its production processes are often conducted at high temperatures. As a consequence large amounts of excess heat are generated. The potential electricity production from low temperature excess heat at a steel plant was calculated together with the corresponding reduction in global CO2 emissions.

Keywords: Low temperature excess heat, Heat recovery, Electricity generation, Thermoelectric generator (TEG), Organic Rankine cycle (ORC), Phase change material (PCM) engine

1 Introduction

Industry accounts for about 30% of global final energy use and almost 40% of global CO2 emissions are attributed to industrial activities (IEA 2010). Rising energy prices and requirements to reduce CO2 emissions are of great concern for energy-intensive industry and energy efficiency measures are therefore an important issue. Energy efficiency measures include, for example 1) production planning; 2) investment in energy-efficient equipment; 3) recycling of energy in the industrial production process; and 4) recovery of excess energy and subsequent utilisation in other processes.


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