Spirit Elec­tric­ity may have found a way to power is­lands in South­east Asia with re­new­able elec­tric­ity in­stead of diesel.

Turn­ing waste into a use­ful end prod­uct is a chal­lenge. In the en­ergy sec­tor, the key to turn­ing both solid and heat waste into some­thing ben­e­fi­cial has been dis­cov­ered by Vik­ing Heat En­gines.

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents - CHEYENNE HOL­LIS

Re­search from the US De­part­ment of En­ergy and Law­er­ence Liver­more Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory found more than 50 per­cent of the en­ergy gen­er­ated in the world to­day ends up be­ing wasted as heat. That’s be­cause more than half of this heat gen­er­a­tion is less than 120 de­grees Cel­sius.

Any heat pro­duced be­low this tem­per­a­ture is dif­fi­cult to turn into some­thing use­ful. Vik­ing Heat En­gines saw this prob­lem and looked to find a so­lu­tion. The com­pany be­gan with the idea to pro­duce elec­tric­ity from low tem­per­a­ture heat and to make the best Or­ganic Rank­ine Cy­cle (ORC) ma­chine in the world. Start­ing from scratch in 2009, the firm needed to find part­ners.

“We knew that to be suc­cess­ful we would have to use the best ex­perts in the world and turned to AVL Schrick GmbH (AVL), the world’s largest en­gine de­sign com­pany, for as­sis­tance,” Mr Tor Hodne, CEO and Manag­ing Di­rec­tor at Vik­ing Heat En­gines, ex­plains. “They put a team of 30 highly-skilled engi­neers on the task, who were su­per­vised by us. The re­sult was a bril­liantly-de­signed pis­ton en­gine, which was used as an ex­pander in our CraftEngine.”

The CraftEngine runs on any kind of waste heat and pro­duces elec­tric­ity. It can be used in nu­mer­ous pro­cesses and sec­tors. Vik­ing Heat En­gines has al­ready found suc­cess with small-scale waste to en­ergy sys­tems, with biomass waste sys­tems and with diesel and gas gensets. The com­pany is now de­vel­op­ing a large en­gine se­ries that will al­low the CraftEngine to be used in the geo­ther­mal mar­ket. The new prod­uct should be avail­able in 2020.

Vik­ing Heat En­gines is also con­fi­dent in the CraftEngine’s abil­ity to have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the mar­itime in­dus­try. New In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion (IMO) sul­phur emis­sions reg­u­la­tions set to take ef­fect in less than a year means there are more than 50,000 mer­chant ships with en­gines that gen­er­ate waste heat which could ben­e­fit from us­ing the CraftEngine.

“At this stage we are fo­cus­ing quite heav­ily on the ship­ping mar­ket. The rea­son is the new IMO reg­u­la­tions on sul­phur emis­sions which come into ef­fect early 2019,” Mr Hodne notes. “Un­der the new reg­u­la­tions many ship own­ers will switch to new fu­els with low Sul­phur con­tent and the CraftEngine will save them around five per­cent on their fuel costs. In these cases, we see a two-year pay­back and this is very at­trac­tive to the ship own­ers.”

Ves­sels equipped with a CraftEngine on-board are able to pro­duce a cer­tain amount of elec­tric­ity from the waste heat gen­er­ated by the en­gine. This elec­tric­ity al­lows the ship to re­duce power from, or even turn off its aux­il­iary en­gines and run from the en­ergy be­ing gen­er­ated by the CraftEngine. This in turn re­duces fuel con­sump­tion and ul­ti­mately car­bon diox­ide emis­sions help­ing ships meet IMO reg­u­la­tions in ad­di­tion to the cost sav­ings pro­vided.

Seek­ing heat The com­pany started by trans­form­ing waste heat into elec­tric­ity, but it would later find the pis­ton en­gine in­no­va­tion used as an ex­pander in the CraftEngine had other ap­pli­ca­tions. How­ever, this dis­cov­ery re­quired an out­side point of view.

“The pis­ton ex­pander was specif­i­cally de­signed to han­dle tem­per­a­tures in the range of 80 to 200 de­grees Cel­sius, which is a great range to cover since most of the waste heat to­day is avail­able in this tem­per­a­ture range,” Mr Hodne states. “Now, dur­ing the sum­mer of 2015, we had a vis­i­tor from Che­mours, the pre­vi­ous chem­i­cals di­vi­sion of Dupont, com­ment that our pis­ton ex­pander was truly amaz­ing in that it could han­dle these tem­per­a­tures and asked us whether we had con­sid­ered to also use it as a com­pres­sor in a heat pump ap­pli­ca­tion.”

He con­tin­ues, “The thought hadn’t re­ally crossed our mind too much, but the Che­mours rep­re­sen­ta­tive told us that if we could do it, we would have the fast-grow­ing high tem­per­a­ture heat pump mar­ket pretty much to our­selves. Long story short, we went ahead and had the first pro­to­type ready eight months later. We set an un­of­fi­cial world record, pro­duc­ing 150 de­grees Cel­sius with the in­no­va­tion. This is a tem­per­a­ture that a large num­ber of in­dus­tries to­day can only ob­tain by burn­ing fos­sil fu­els.”

The pro­to­type would even­tu­ally be­come the HeatBooster, a heat pump that uses elec­tric­ity to raise the tem­per­a­ture of a heat source up to 160 de­grees Cel­sius. Cur­rently, coal, oil, gas or elec­tric heaters are used for this pur­pose but these cre­ate sig­nif­i­cant CO2 emis­sions as well as ex­cess low tem­per­a­ture heat that ends up be­ing wasted.

Mr Hodne points out that there are a great deal of in­dus­trial pro­cesses us­ing heat above 100 de­grees Cel­sius across a wide range of in­dus­tries in­clud­ing the food, pa­per and chem­i­cal sec­tors. The heat is re­quired for dry­ing, pas­teuris­ing, dis­til­la­tion, evap­o­ra­tion, boil­ing, laun­der­ing and colour­ing pro­cesses.

“To­day, these com­pa­nies typ­i­cally burn gas, oil or even coal to pro­duce the re­quired tem­per­a­tures. After the process, the heat is of­ten wasted at tem­per­a­tures be­low 100 de­grees Cel­sius,” Mr Hodne says. “A HeatBooster can re­use this low tem­per­a­ture waste heat, lift it back to the tem­per­a­ture nec­es­sary in the process and re­use the en­ergy which would oth­er­wise be wasted. By do­ing so we can ac­tu­ally switch off the fos­sil fuel heaters al­to­gether.”

The en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of the HeatBooster could be far reach­ing. A study per­formed by Delta En­ergy and En­vi­ron­ment found the tech­ni­cal mar­ket po­ten­tial of heat de­mand in the 100-150 Cel­sius range within the USA and EU to be nearly 500 ter­awatt hours. Of this amount, close to 15 per­cent of the de­mand is prac­ti­cally reach­able, which would equate to 15,000 HeatBoost­ers.

Were Vik­ing Heat En­gines able to in­stall that num­ber of HeatBoost­ers, 32 mil­lion tonnes of CO2 would be saved. That to­tal is three per­cent of the World’s CO2 re­duc­tion tar­get for any given year and it doesn’t even fac­tor in China, In­dia, Ja­pan, South Korea and some of the world’s other largest mar­kets. Pow­er­ing the fu­ture De­spite be­ing in busi­ness than a decade, the Vik­ing Heat En­gines team has a lot to show for their ef­forts. Its prod­ucts are al­ready be­ing used in Nor­way, the UK, Ger­many and Ja­pan and sev­eral well-known in­ter­na­tional firms are in dis­cus­sion with the com­pany.

“Start­ing a new com­pany is al­ways chal­leng­ing. For us, hav­ing spent more than NOK 400 mil­lion to de­velop our fab­u­lous prod­ucts, ob­tain­ing fi­nanc­ing has al­ways been a tough bat­tle,” Mr Hodne says. “But we are now well on our way to mak­ing com­mer­cial head­lines and our in­vestors will surely be re­warded in the end.”

As one of the first Nor­we­gian sus­tain­able en­ergy tech­nolo­gies to ven­ture out glob­ally, Vik­ing Heat En­gines is look­ing for new op­por­tu­ni­ties with Asia a mar­ket of spe­cial in­ter­est. The com­pany is al­ready work­ing on a few demo projects in Sin­ga­pore and In­done­sia and it hopes to gain mo­men­tum in the re­gion as soon as the units are op­er­a­tional.

“Asia is very im­por­tant to us for many rea­sons. First of all, the mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties are great. Also, a large por­tion of our man­age­ment team has spent time in the re­gion. Per­son­ally, I lived two years in In­done­sia, two years in China and two years in Sin­ga­pore,” Mr Hodne re­calls. “Many of the busi­ness con­nec­tions made dur­ing those days are still valu­able to us now. We need to be pa­tient, but once we make a break­through in the re­gion we will see a lot of sales. “

Mr Hodne is en­thu­si­as­tic about the team at Vik­ing Heat En­gines but adds it will be im­por­tant for the com­pany to con­nect with distri­bu­tion part­ners that can mar­ket, sell, in­stall and main­tain the units glob­ally.

“Ev­ery­one here is re­ally pas­sion­ate about what we do. Our vi­sion is to ac­cel­er­ate the world’s en­ergy tran­si­tion to­wards a sus­tain­able fu­ture. And we are hard at work get­ting there,” Mr Hodne con­cludes. “That said, we will need even more com­mer­cial force when go­ing into new mar­kets. We con­tinue to look for po­ten­tial distri­bu­tion ar­range­ments and busi­ness co­op­er­a­tion with com­pa­nies in South­east Asia.”


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