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Opportunities for low-grade heat recovery in the UK food processing industry

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard Law, Professor Adam Harvey, Emeritus Dr David Reay


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Energy efficiency in the process industry is becoming an increasingly important issue due to the rising costs of both electricity and fossil fuel resources, as well as the tough targets for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions outlined in the Climate Change Act 2008. Utilisation of waste heat sources is key to improving industrial energy efficiency, with an estimated 11.4 TWh of recoverable heat being wasted each year, a quarter of which is from the food and drinks processing sector.This paper examines the low-grade waste heat sources common to the food and drinks processing sector and the various opportunities for the use of this heat. A review of the best available technologies for recovery of waste heat is provided, ranging from heat transfer between source and sink, to novel technologies for the generation of electricity and refrigeration.Generally, the most economic option for waste heat recovery is heat exchange between nearby/same process source and sink, with a number of well-developed heat exchangers widely available for purchase. More novel options, such as the use of organic Rankine cycles for electricity generation prove to be less economical due to high capital outlays. However, with additional funding provision for demonstration of such projects and development of modular units, such technologies would become more common. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Law R, Harvey A, Reay D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Thermal Engineering

Year: 2013

Volume: 53

Issue: 2

Pages: 188-196

Print publication date: 02/05/2013

Online publication date: 22/03/2012

Acceptance date: 15/03/2012

ISSN (print): 1359-4311

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5606

Publisher: Pergamon Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2012.03.024


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Funder referenceFunder name
EP/G061467/1EPSRC project