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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P004709/1
Title: Energy-Use Minimisation via High Performance Heat-Power-Cooling Conversion and Integration: A Holistic Molecules to Technologies to Systems Approach
Principal Investigator: Markides, Professor CN
Other Investigators:
Torrente Murciano, Professor L Shah, Professor N Macchietto, Professor S
White, Dr AJ Ding, Professor Y Karayiannis, Professor T
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr A J Haslam
Project Partners:
Baxi British Glass DRD Power Ltd
EDF Ener-G Entropea Labs Limited
Heatcatcher Ltd Hubbard Products Limited J Sainsbury Plc
Libertine FPE Ltd Praxair Inc Sabic Americas, Inc.
Solar-Polar Limited Synthomer Ltd
Department: Chemical Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 15 December 2016 Ends: 14 September 2021 Value (£): 1,573,522
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency Heat & Mass Transfer
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 May 2016 Reducing Industrial Energy Demand (REDIMS)) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
A 4-year multidisciplinary project aimed at minimising primary-energy use in UK industry is proposed, concerned with next-generation technological solutions, identifying the challenges, and assessing the opportunities and benefits (to different stakeholders) resulting from their optimal implementation. Around 20 companies from component manufacturers to industrial end-users have expressed an interest in supporting this project. With this industrial support, the team has the necessary access and is in a prime position to deliver real impact, culminating in the practical demonstration of these solutions.

The proposed project is concerned with specific advancements to two selected energy-conversion technologies with integrated energy-storage capabilities, one for each of: 1) heat-to-power with organic Rankine cycle (ORC) devices; and 2) heat-to-cooling with absorption refrigeration (AR) devices. These technological solutions are capable of recovering and utilising thermal energy from a diverse range of sources in industrial applications. The heat input can come from highly efficient distributed combined heat & power (CHP) units, conventional or renewable sources (solar, geothermal, biomass/gas), or be wasted from industrial processes. With regards to the latter, at least 17% of all UK industrial energy-use is estimated as being wasted as heat, of which only 17% is considered economically recoverable with currently available technology. The successful implementation of these technologies would increase the potential for waste-heat utilisation by a factor of 3.5, from 17% with current technologies to close to 60%.

The in-built, by design, capacity for low-cost thermal storage acts to buffer energy or temperature fluctuations inherent to most real heat sources, allowing smaller conversion devices (for the same average input) and more efficient operation of those devices closer to their design points for longer periods. This will greatly improve the economic proposition of implementing these conversion solutions by simultaneously reducing capital and maintenance costs, and improving performance.

The technologies of interest are promising but are not economically viable currently in the vast majority of applications with >5-20 year paybacks at best. The project involves targeting and resolving pre-identified 'bottleneck' aspects of each technology that can enable step-improvements in maximising performance per unit capital cost. The goal is to enable the widespread uptake of these technologies and their optimal integration with existing energy systems and energy-efficiency strategies, leading to drastic increases performance while lowering costs, thus reducing payback to 3-5 years. It is intended that technological step-changes will be attained by unlocking the synergistic potential of optimised, application-tailored fluids for high efficiency and power, and of innovative components including advanced heat-exchanger configurations and architectures in order to increase thermal transport while simultaneously reducing component size and cost. Important system-level components are included in the project, whose objective is to assess the impact of incorporating these systems in targeted industrial settings, examine technoeconomic feasibility, and identify opportunities relating to optimal integration, control and operation to maximise in-use performance. A dynamic, interactive whole-energy-integration design and assessment platform will be developed to accelerate the implementation of the technological advances, feeding into specific case-studies and facilitating direct recommendations to industry.

Only two international research teams are capable of developing the necessary tools that combine multiscale state-of-the-art molecular thermodynamic theories for fluids, detailed energy-conversion ORC and AR models, and incorporating these into whole-energy-system optimisation platforms. This is truly a world-leading development.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk