Panasonic to Test

External-combustion Engine for

Recovering Waste Heat in Plant

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Estir Co Ltd, a venture team of Panasonic Corp, started a verification test of the “Waste Heat Recovery Stirring Engine,” which generates electric power from waste heat in a plant, in June 2009 at Panasonic Nara Plant in Japan.

The company will test the reliability of the engine at the plant in operation in the aim of commercializing it in fiscal 2011.

estir has been engaged in the development of the stirring engine in collaboration with the National Maritime Research Institute since 2005. And it has already achieved a power generation efficiency of 15% with waste heat that was emitted from industrial furnaces such as drying, blast and heat-treating furnaces, power generating facilities, boilers and motors and has a temperature from 300 to 650°C.

This time, the company will attach the stirring engine to the chimney flue of the high-pressure air distribution equipment in Panasonic Nara Plant. It generates 500W output power by using part of waste heat having a temperature of about 300 to 500°C, which is lower than before.

If estir can verify the reliability in the test, it will develop a power generating engine with a capacity of about 5 to 10kW within fiscal 2009 in prospect of commercialization and aim to release a product in fiscal 2011 as an engine able to reduce CO2 emission at production sites.

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In the industrial world, about 10% of primary energy such as petroleum and natural gas is discarded as waste heat. Therefore, energy recovery from waste heat is a major issue in reducing environmental loads.

A stirring engine is an external-combustion engine that expands and compresses the air inside the engine by using an outer heat source to obtain drive force. It can use various heat sources for power generation and is gaining attention especially in the field of energy conservation.

There has already been a stirring engine that uses heat of combustion gas with a temperature of more than 1,000°C. But it has been difficult to commercialize a stirring engine that uses waste heat having a temperature of about 300 to 500°C, such as waste heat in a plant, due to the low power generation efficiency and high costs.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 1st July 2009

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