ElectraTherm, Inc. has installed its first commercial waste heat generator, which makes electricity from residual industrial heat that usually goes to waste.
Using patented heat and pressure recovery technology, ElectraTherm employs minimal heat (200 degrees F liquid) to generate fuel-free, emissions-free electricity at low cost: three to four cents per kW/hr during payback period, under a penny/kW hour thereafter.
Testing of the 50kW ElectraTherm Green Machine, installed at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, by Gulf Coast Green Energy and ElectraTherm, has exceeded the companies' expectations, reaching output beyond its 50kW rating.
"ElectraTherm has unlocked the power of recycling the largest source of renewable energy in the U.S. - waste heat," said ElectraTherm CEO Richard Langson. "This technology has the power to increase electrical output at every fossil fuel burning power plant without burning oil, gas or coal, and without further pollution or damage to the environment."
According to some government estimates, electricity generated through waste heat recovery could surpass all other renewable sources, given the amount of waste heat generated in the U.S.
ElectraTherm estimates that its units have a subsidy-free payback period of three years or less, and company officials claim "the implications on the world stage of a modular, scalable (50-500kW output) unit making electricity from unused, accessible heat are huge."
The company's patented Twin Screw Expander enables the ElectraTherm Green Machine to do its work. The expander is one-tenth the cost of a turbine as the energy block, according to ElectraTherm. Since the energy block generally constitutes 30 to 40 percent of the cost of an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) system, the ElectraTherm Green Machine will cost approximately 30 percent less than turbine ORC systems.
The unit operates without gearboxes or the high end electronics required to synchronize a turbine to a generator. Inline process lubrication eliminates oil pumps, filters, separator tanks, parasitic loads and maintenance issues usually associated with lubrication. ElectraTherm officials say the technology reduces maintenance and extends the life of the ElectraTherm Green Machine compared to turbine-based energy solutions.