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Industrial Waste-Heat Recovery Innovation for Onsite Power Plants

Posted on July 6, 2009

GE Energy and energy developer ECOS Ltd. have announced they plan to demonstrate an innovative, industrial waste-heat recovery system that will dramatically increase the efficiency and output of a 7.2 MW biogas power plant in the eastern Slovenia town of Lendava, near the border with Hungary.

GE’s new ORC system will allow ECOS to capture more waste heat created by its 7.2 MW Bioplinarna Lendava biogas plant. The extra thermal power will be used to produce steam, which in turn will help generate enough electricity to support 300 European homes without using additional fuel. ORC systems generally offer enhanced energy efficiency by utilizing organic fluids that have lower boiling points than water to create steam for electricity generation. However, due to technical waste-heat recovery constraints, there had been few gas engine-based ORC applications.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and output can be achieved in gas engine power plants through enhanced waste-heat recovery,” said ECOS Director and Owner Jože Pavlinjek. “We believe our collaboration with GE will help lead to the expanded use of cogeneration and renewable biogas solutions in support of European Union directives designed to improve regional energy security and combat global climate change.”

GE’s new gas engine-ORC technology is a milestone for the global energy industry because for the first time, all of the waste heat from an engine’s exhaust gas and cooling cycle can be fully captured and utilized to drive the power plant’s enhanced steam-creation process. The new technology was developed by GE’s Munich corporate research center and GE Energy’s Jenbacher gas engine business in Austria.

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