Skip to main content

Estimation of and barriers to waste heat recovery from harsh environments in industrial processes...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Journal of Cleaner Production
Publication Date
Page Numbers
539 to 549

This paper discusses the industrial potential for waste heat recovery (WHR) in harsh environments – defined as a waste heat stream having either a temperature of at least 650 °C or containing reactive constituents that complicate heat recovery. The analysis covers five industries (steel, aluminum, glass, cement, and lime), chosen based on volume of production, discharge of exhaust gases containing components that present harsh environments, possibility of recovering considerably more heat than currently recovered, and current lack of acceptable WHR options. The total potential energy savings identified in harsh environment waste heat streams from these industries is equal to 15.4% (113.6 TWh) of the process heat energy lost in U.S. manufacturing. Existing technologies and materials for these industries are evaluated and the recoverable waste heat from harsh environment gas for each industrial sector is estimated. Finally, an in-depth summary of each waste heat source shows exactly where waste heat can be recovered and what specific issues must be addressed. The most potential lies within steel blast furnaces (46 TWh/year). Other waste heat streams considered include steel electric arc furnaces (14.1 TWh/year), flat glass (3.6 TWh/year), container glass (5.7 TWh/year), glass fiber (1.1 TWh/year), specialty glass (2.2 TWh/year), aluminum melting furnaces (4.7 TWh/year), cement (17.1 TWh/year), and lime (10.5 TWh/year). Although attempts to recover waste heat in harsh environments have been mostly unsuccessful, advances in research and technology could unlock an enormous potential for energy and cost savings.