The Energy-Use Minimisation via High Performance Heat-Power-Cooling Conversion and Integration: A Holistic Molecules to Technologies to Systems Approach (iHPC) project is a four-year multidisciplinary project aimed at minimising primary-energy use in UK industry.
The project is a collaboration between four UK universities: the University of Birmingham, Brunel University London, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London. Alongside these academic participants are 14 core industrial partners and approximately 10 additional associated industrial partners representing a diverse range of industries.
iHPC is studying next-generation technological solutions in the heat-power-cooling conversion area. The team are working to understand optimal implementation of various possibilities to:
- Identify the challenges
- Assess the opportunities
- Outline the benefits to different stakeholders
iHPC focusses on two selected energy-conversion technologies with integrated energy-storage capabilities:
1. Heat-to-power with organic Rankine cycle (ORC) devices
2. Heat-to-cooling with absorption refrigeration cycle (ARC) devices
These have been chosen as they 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.
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 project involves targeting and resolving pre-identified 'bottleneck' aspects of each technology that can enable step-improvements in maximising performance per unit capital cost. 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.
The project will optimise application-tailored fluids for high efficiency and power, provide innovative components including advanced heat-exchanger configurations and architectures in order to increase thermal transport while simultaneously reducing component size and cost. 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.
Project Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Amount Funded: £1,573,522
Project Partners: Partners: Imperial College London, Brunel University London and the University of Cambridge
Find out more: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/energy-futures-lab/ihpc/