Waste heat recovery and reuse can increase process efficiency by capturing energy that might otherwise have been lost in the process exhaust. When effective, heat recovery and reuse can result in increased operating efficiency, lower overall energy costs and a good payback.

Innovative technology for capturing waste heat and water vapor from exhaust/flue gas for reuse from industrial and commercial boilers and other industrial process equipment will soon be commercially available as a result of a licensing agreement signed between Gas Technology Institute (GTI), Des Plaines, Ill., and Cannon Boiler Works Inc., New Kensington, Pa.

The technology, called the transport membrane condenser (TMC), allows the capture and beneficial use of sensible and latent waste heat and water vapor from exhaust/flue gas. It can be applied to elevated-temperature industrial processes as well as boilers. When used with boilers, the TMC is the cornerstone of a heat recovery system that can provide an increase in fuel-to-steam efficiency of as much as 15 percent (up to 95 percent fuel-to-steam efficiency), according to GTI. The heat recovery system also can provide up to 20 percent water capture and reuse without the need for water treatment, says the research, development and training organization.

GTI notes that transport membrane condensers typically are applied in conjunction with economizers. Cannon supplies boiler economizers and its existing product line is "synergistic" with the TMC technology. Cannon and its network of sales representatives will support applications to both new boilers and retrofits, and a suite of TMC models covering a range of boiler sizes is expected to be available for commercial sale in 2010. In addition, applications of the technology for other industrial processes will initially be managed on an application engineering basis by Cannon.

GTI is the inventor and patent-holder of the TMC technology, which has been licensed exclusively to Cannon for certain fields of use. GTI is working to expand applications for the technology in power plants and industrial food drying applications as well as residential uses.

The technology is a key element of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Super Boiler program and was developed with funding from DOE; Utilization Technology Development, NFP (UTD); California Energy Commission; California Air Resources Board; South Coast Air Quality Management District; Southern California Gas (a Sempra Energy Company); and GTI and its Sustaining Membership Program.