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Is ORC Waste Heat Recovery Right for Every Ship?

Is ORC Waste Heat Recovery Right for Every Ship?

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May 15, 2023

As the latest batch of environmental regulations come into force, the pressure’s on for shipowners and operators to reduce emissions. From clean fuels to innovative emissions reductions technologies, the maritime industry is finding new ways to lower CO2 outputs and decarbonize the shipping sector.

A proven method of reducing shipping emissions, ‘waste heat to power’ systems are being installed on an increasing number of ships to convert waste heat into clean, on-board electricity. The production of on-board carbon-free energy leads directly to emissions reductions, which helps to improve a vessel’s environmental ratings and performance.

However, this isn’t the only benefit that waste heat recovery (WHR) technology offers. By reducing reliance on fuel-powered generators, marine WHR systems also reduce fuel consumption and, therefore, lower costs.

With the potential to increase energy efficiency, reduce emissions and generate cost savings, ‘waste heat to power’ systems can play a critical role in decarbonizing the industry – but are they right for every ship and what factors affect on-board clean energy outputs?

What is Waste Heat to Power?

The majority of energy consumed by a ship’s engines is lost as waste heat, but WHR systems use this waste heat to generate clean, carbon-free electricity. 

Climeon’s HeatPower 300 Marine technology uses a modified Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) to utilize low temperature waste heat and transform it into sustainable on-board energy. By exploiting the temperature difference between a hot input source (waste heat) and a cold input source (usually seawater), the system powers a turbine that generates clean electricity.

What Affects Clean Energy Outputs?

All marine engines produce waste heat, so ORC WHR systems have the potential to produce clean energy on board virtually every type of ship. However, there are numerous factors that affect max. net power outputs, so the suitability and emissions reduction potential of ORC WHR is dependent on a vessel’s specific design and operational profile.

A ship’s engine type and cooling circuit design have a significant impact on how much thermal energy is available to be converted into clean energy, for example.

Furthermore, the ship’s intended itinerary and the use of its engines will impact the availability of thermal energy and, therefore, the real-world net power output of the on-board waste heat to power system.

By assessing the availability of a ship’s thermal energy, it’s possible to calculate the max. net power output of HeatPower 300 Marine units, as well as fuel savings, emissions reductions, payback periods and ROI.

To find out how Climeon calculates the average net power output of its HeatPower 300 Marine technology using ship-specific data, download our latest White Paper now.

Decarbonizing the Shipping Industry with ORC WHR

Waste heat to power systems have an important role to play in making the shipping industry more sustainable. As we strive to reduce emissions and switch to clean forms of power, converting waste heat into clean, on-board electricity can help shipowners and operators to achieve enhanced environmental performance.

While there is no single solution that will successfully decarbonize the maritime industry, finding the best technologies for each vessel is critical to success. With a ‘ship-specific’ approach, shipowners and operators can identify the most effective and cost-efficient methods of reducing emissions and, therefore, successfully enhance the energy efficiency of their fleets and contribute to a more sustainable future.

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