There are several strong market drives for production of electricity from waste heat:
- Increasing energy prices in Europe
- Global economic growth creates problems with oil supply
- 80 % of global electricity production is based on use of fossil fuels
- General purpose among industrialized countries to reduce use of fossil fuels
- Nuclear power a controversial issue in various countries
Opcon Powerbox, Opcon’s proprietary system for production of CO2-free electricity from low-value waste heat, was launched in 2008 and the technology has received great attention from overseas. Opcon’s strategy is to introduce Opcon Powerbox in various countries through co-operation with nationally and locally established partners.
The current assessment is that Opcon Powerbox is the only commercial product in the world that can generate electricity from such low temperatures. The eco-friendly technology has attracted great attention, in Sweden and abroad. The core of the technology comes from Opcon’s subsidiary, SRM, which has a century-long history of development within improving energy efficiency.
The potential market for OpconPowerbox is global, but the Swedish market alone is worth several billion Swedish kronor. Waste heat or surplus heat is available in large amounts in the process industry and power industry, but there is also great potential in the application of Opcon Powerbox on large seagoing vessels.
Waste heat in industry currently has an enormous and still largely unutilised potential. According to the US Department of Energy and their Annual Energy Survey, the energy value in available industrial waste heat exceeds all other forms of renewable energy put together and amounts to 7 Quad Btu, or around 2,000 TWh, which is 13 times total electricity production in Sweden. American industry currently accounts for around 13 % of global energy consumption by industry.
There are five main markets on a global basis for Opcon Powerbox:
Opcon Powerbox increases power output in existing CHP's and waste incineration plants.
CHP plants often suffer from seasonal low customer demand for heat, reducing turbine power generation. This is contrary to the interests of the end user, which are to maximise electric power output from the turbine, especially when seeking different green certificates, etc.
Waste incineration plants offen suffer the same problem, requiring extra coolers to compensate low customer heat demand and to maintain high incineration volumes.
Opcon Powerbox is integrated as an extra heat load, thereby increasing efficiency and utilisation of the steam turbine, whilst at the same time producing additional electrical power.
In waste incineration plants, the Opcon Powerbox allows for increased incineration volumes without the need for extra coolers.
Opcon Powerbox replaces costly cooling with cost efficient power generation.
High temperature industrial processes with cooling needs normally use heat exchangers and coolers before process water is either recycled or drained to bio-treatment plants or other recipients.
However, cooling - which is often required for legal or technical reasons - brings about significant energy losses and results in high costs for operating cooling towers or similar equipment.
With Opcon Powerbox, parts of the process heat previously requiring cooling, can be transformed into new power production instead, whilst at the same time decreasing cooling costs.
The value of installing an Opcon Powerbox can sometimes be further increased, if it can replace investments necessary for additional cooling capacity.
Opcon Powerbox develops existing waste heat and district heating systems.
When industrial processes supply waste heat to district heating networks there are long periods of heat supply ocercapacity. This excess heat needs to be cooled of creating energy losses as well as cooling costs.
By installing an Opcon Powerbox excess heat can be converted to cost efficient and emission free new electric power generation.
In addition to improved systemefficiency, Opcon Powerbox can improve cooperation between industry and energy utilities, as well as creating both economic and environmental value independent of which party installs it.
Opcon Powerbox improves gensets and combustion engines.
Industrial natural gas or diesel engines convert only part of the available fuel energy to usable power. The remainder is lost as heat, resulting in significant energy losses.
In industrial combustion engines, Opcon Powerbox can reduce fuel consumption by between 5 to 10 percent, or increase existing power generation by a similar 5-10 precent without the need for larger engines or more fuel.
Opcon Powerbox can utilize low grade waste heat, such as jacket cooling, scavenger air and combustion gas cooling and convert it into cost effective power generation.
In addition to improved system efficiency and reduced operating costs, this system integration creates significant environmental omprovements due to reduced emissions of substances such as CO2, NOX and sulphur.
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Opcon Powerbox produces electricity in off-grid remote areas.
In off-grid remote areas powered by fossil fuel burning generator systems, like big parts of Australia, Opcon Powerbox can significantly increase the power generation capacity without increasing emissions or fuel used.