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Buying and Using Utilities:  Golden Age of Steam Returns to Cut Energy Bills
Buying and Using Utilities: Golden Age of Steam Returns to Cut Energy Bills

Article appeared in Buying and using Utilities in Autumn 2016 edition 

A new technology developed by a company in Scotland has found a way of harnessing the power of ‘wet’ steam produced by industrial processes and turning it into energy.

Working with City University, London, Heliex Power has developed a new technology using screw compressors working in reverse to recapture lost energy and generate electricity.

Professor Dan Wright, founder of Heliex said: “It’s the holy grail of energy recovery for manufacturers and, what’s more it’s hugely environmentally friendly. The wet steam conundrum has been an enduring problem in the industry for many years and we have 100 per cent proven that our answer to it works, with massive cost and energy savings. Engineers say to me ‘at last someone has finally done it’.”

Dan reckons more than 40,000 gigawatt hours of energy is lost globally every year through waste steam and it is estimated that up to half of industrial energy usage is eventually released as waste heat.

Creating power from steam is not new, but traditionally, according to Dan, the technology to harness the power from steam only works effectively with superheated steam. “Wet steam is really bad news for steam turbines as it damages or destroys the machinery by eroding the blades and so it could not be used for many energy recovery operations – until now.

What we have done is take an existing technology, turn it on its head by reversing the way compressors function and made a product that works where others fail.” Already the company has units installed in a vast array of industries in Italy, Netherlands, France, Poland and the UK.

These range from food and drink manufacturing to glass production, chemical engineering, waste incineration and agriculture.