Industry sectors and business owners are continuously looking for ways to drive costs down by reducing their energy consumption to be more competitive. The process industries traditionally are some of the heaviest energy-consumption sectors. To make matters worse, it is estimated that somewhere between 20 percent and 50 percent of the energy used by the industries overall is lost as waste heat. As the industrial sector continues efforts to improve its energy efficiency, recovering waste heat losses provides an opportunity for an emission-free and less costly energy resource.
The organic rankine cycle (ORC), among other waste heat recovery technologies, has been studied extensively in the past decade or so for practical and economical use in recovering industrial waste heat. It has gained attention recently based on its potential to recover the abundant low grade — normally medium-to-low temperature — waste heat available in the process industries, among other industry sectors.