Low grade waste heat recovery using heat pumps and power cycles

D. M. van de Bor, C. A. Infante Ferreira, Anton A. Kiss

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Thermal energy represents a large part of the global energy usage and about 43% of this energy is used for industrial applications. Large amounts are lost via exhaust gases, liquid streams and cooling water while the share of low temperature waste heat is the largest.Heat pumps upgrading waste heat to process heat and cooling and power cycles converting waste heat to electricity can make a strong impact in the related industries. The potential of several alternative technologies, either for the upgrading of low temperature waste heat such as compression-resorption, vapor compression and trans-critical heat pumps, or for the conversion of this waste heat by using organic Rankine, Kalina and trilateral cycle engines, are investigated with regards to energetic and economic performance by making use of thermodynamic models. This study focuses on temperature levels of 45-60 °C as at this temperature range large amounts of heat are rejected to the environment but also investigates the temperature levels for which power cycles become competitive. The heat pumps deliver 2.5-11 times more energy value than the power cycles in this low temperature range at equal waste heat input. Heat engines become competitive with heat pumps at waste heat temperatures at 100 °C and above.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7783
    Pages (from-to)864-873
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


    • Compression-resorption
    • Economic comparison
    • Heat pumps
    • Power cycles
    • Waste heat


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