SUSPIRE project creates a new technology to harvest and commercialize the residual energy of process industries


Summer 2019

SUSPIRE project's target is to create an effective integrated energy recovery system (equipment & methodology) as well as a commercialization framework to save 20% of the global energy consumption in the PRECICAST BILBAO (PCB) investment casting company.

Process industry companies require/consume a significant amount of energy, but most of it gets lost during the different transformation phases. To avoid this loss and to gain efficiency, SusPIRE project's international consortium is working on an energy recovery system which, combined with the manufacturing process of energy intensive companies, will recover energy from the different heat streams increasing existing energy recovery rates.

Advanced design and preliminary testing of low temperature heat exchanger for released steam in boilerclaves

Currently, a demonstrator of the project is being carried out in the PRECICAST BILBAO (also PCB) precision casting company (Spain), where the project consortium aims at saving 20% of the global energy consumption rates. The results of the project will be applicable to other energy intensive manufacturing companies at international level. As explained by Jordi Hernando, project coordinator from PCB "sustainability is a challenge for process industry to gain competitiveness in a global market and develop symbiotic capabilities with society".

During the project, by means of advanced simulation techniques, a general architecture has been designed for the whole plant coping with all existing types of residual energy streams. As a result, a new generation of dual heat exchangers with high energy recovery yield has been born. Dual heat exchangers provide a double functionality: they can exchange and store heat at the same time so existing mismatches between energy generation and demand can be encompassed.

Low temperature energy recovery system supported in a Borehole Thermal Energy System and a heat pump

An innovative design and an advanced data management system to save energy
Coming to another design level, the heat exchange equipment benefits from the latest developments in Heat Transfer Fluids (HTF), and more specifically, in siliconbased fluids. Syltherm 800, commercialized by DOW, that can withstand temperatures up to 450˚C without significant degradation, is an example of this product category.

Also, Phase Change Materials (PCM) have been used during the project for energy storage at two temperature levels. For high temperature values, H190 inorganic PCM has been applied (approximately 190˚C melting point) while RT82 organic PCM is used for lower temperatures (approximately 80˚C melting point).

Finally, a Borehole Thermal Energy Storage System (BTES) has been built up in the plant. This equipment has the specific support of a heat pump and gathers all the low temperature residual heat streams coming from refrigeration units of different equipment (compressors, induction furnaces and cooling systems) and the incascade residual heat coming from the high temperature energy recovery circuit.

Among the main achievements reached up to date, an advanced data management system that encompasses optimal manufacturing and energy consumption has been created to make a more efficient use of energy. As explained by Fernando Santos, researcher at IK4- AZTERLAN and technical coordinator of the SUSPIRE project, "we have created a software to control the key variables and key indicators that allow us to achieve the best results in energy efficiency without disturbing the manufacturing process or affecting product quality".

The energy stored at 190˚C is used for wax melting and steam generation for etching baths and remaining energy is stored in the ground whereas energy stored at 80ºC is used for retro heating of water going into a boilerclave. The low temperature energy supplied by the BTES is used for building heating and hot water for workers. For the remaining excess of heat a contract will be subscribed with local authorities to supply heat to the sports center next to the factory.

SUSPIRE project is funded by European Union's H2020 program for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No. 680169. H2020-EE-2014-2015/H2020-EE-2015-1-PPP.