Emerging Opportunities: The Growth of Industrial Waste Heat Recovery

Published:  12 December, 2014

The three most common industrial waste heat management options are recycling within the same heating system, recovery of the waste heat to be used in other systems within the same plant, and converting the waste heat to power.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Innovations in Industrial Waste Heat Management, finds that of the three processes, converting waste heat to power will be the most preferred option in the future. Further, innovations in waste heat recovery will emphasise on the recovery of low grade waste heat.

“Thermoelectric generators are expected to be the most sought after waste heat recovery technique, although much research is necessary before large-scale uptake is possible,” said technical insights research analyst Lekshmy Ravi. “The high growth of thermoelectric generators will also boost the utilisation of low grade waste heat.”

The scope for industrial waste heat recovery is immense across the globe and particularly promising in the Asia-Pacific, which is a major manufacturing hub. The cement and glass manufacturing industries are potential forerunners in adoption.

High capital investment, a long payback period, maintenance and safety requirements are some of the challenges limiting the implementation of industrial waste heat recovery technologies. From an operational perspective, temperature requirements, chemical composition, and fouling delay commercialisation.

Convincing industries on the benefits of waste heat management will be crucial. Supportive government policies and incentives too will go a long way in enabling the widespread use of waste heat recovery.

“Industries with high energy intensity, which have customised solutions readily available, are likely to deploy waste heat management to a greater extent,” remarked Ravi. “Other sectors will initially incorporate technologies with a low capital and short payback period as the first step towards incorporation of waste heat recovery.”

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