On June 28, SO WHAT participated, as part of the SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING conference in the Industrial Waste Heat: Wasted Opportunity to Added Value panel, held in Brussels (Belgium).

On behalf of SO WHAT, Oliver Milling, Principal Researcher in the Industrial Decarbonisation Group at the Materials Processing Institute, was in charge of presenting the project’s main outcomes and how the project can contribute to cutting CO2 emissions and achieving lower operating costs for greater competitiveness.

The panel addressed the challenge of how waste heat recovery, storage, upgrading and heat to power conversion could increase the efficiency of countless industrial processes.

Interview with Adriano Sciacovelli

“The unique SO WHAT tool’s algorithms capture both the technical as well as economic enabling both in-depth technical assessment as well as the analysis of the economic viability of each technology”

Interview with Adriano Sciacovelli, Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham.

1 What were the challenges behind the assessment of the industrial sites and the technology database you carried out?

Achieve accurate energy assessment of industrial sites and understand techno-economic performance of recovery technologies, including thermal energy storage, are essential objectives toward a full valorisation of waste heat and cold. Nonetheless, achieving both objectives came with a range of disparate and relevant challenges.

Industrial sites often consist of different complex systems which might include sub-processes such as manufacturing, refining, heating, chemicals conversions, but also buildings, offices, and local energy generation resources. To thoroughly assess such sites the so called ‘data-challenge’ has been a crucial one. Industrial sites typically monitor energy data, but it is often incomplete or not available at the right time. This ultimately might prevent to quantify when and where waste heat/cold is available. Consequently, due to lack of well curated energy data, waste heat/cold is often ‘invisible’, in the sense that industrial sites are only marginally aware and not able to assess such so-far wasted resource.

However, access to energy data is only the first challenge to overcome. Analysing such data by means of accurate techno-economic algorithms is also essential. This represented a second key underpinning challenge: developing a whole set of new algorithms, particularly for what concerns waste heat/cold recovery technologies. There has been so far only a very limited number of consistent and coherent modelling algorithms and techno-economic parameters for the entire range of waste heat/cold recovery technologies. This has been a crucial challenge to overcome, and particularly in the case of emerging technologies which SO-WHAT project helped to increase the awareness around. This is for example the case of thermal energy storage technology (sensible, latent, and thermochemical) which is increasing becoming a key enabler of waste heat/cold recovery and crucial focal area for the work carried out at the University of Birmingham within the project.

How did you overcome them?

A new structured methodology and strategy for acquisition, monitoring, cleaning, post-processing, and visualizing energy data has been developed as part of the SO WHAT tool. The methodology guides the end user to all the necessary intermediate steps to firstly assess the quality of the data available, and crucially, where data is missing representative ‘profiles’ are generated and used. This allows to pursue comprehensive industrial assessment also when the information on the sites is scarce – a crucial advancement compared to the currently existing state-of-the-art tools. Uniquely to SO WHAT, monitored live data can feed into the tool directly allowing continuous assessment. Visualization have been also greatly advanced by providing new interfaces through which the end user can thoroughly interrogate the results of the energy assessment and thus ultimately precisely quantify the waste heat/cold resource to be valorised.

A whole data-base techno-economic models for more than 40 technologies have been also developed under the leading effort of University of Birmingham. This empowers the future user of SO WHAT tool to assess the benefit of the whole spectrum of technologies available, from advanced heat exchangers to heat-to-power cycles, heat pumps, thermal energy storage and more. Uniquely, the algorithms capture both the technical performance (e.g. efficiency, power input/outputs, etc) as well as economic parameters (e.g. CAPEX -capital expenditures, OPEX-operational expenditures, etc) – this is a unique feature of the SO WHAT platform enabling both in-depth technical assessment as well as the analysis of the economic viability of each technology.

SO WHAT partners to meet in person after 2 and a half years

SO WHAT partners to meet in person after 2 and a half years

With the pandemic restrictions lifting after one and a half years, the SO WHAT consortium was able to meet face-to-face for the first time and discuss the achievements to date and the future work ahead.

On the one hand, IVL, responsible for the SO WHAT tool outcomes and business model analysis communicated the submission of the article “Risk analysis for investments in industrial waste heat/cold collaborations” based on the findings of the report on economic drivers.

These cost analyses will be integrated into the SO WHAT tool that is now under development. There are going to be two versions of the tool: the open-access platform, to be made available on the website and a more advanced tool, on-demand by potential industrial sites and waste management facilities.

The SO WHAT tool will be very complete and will offer an extensive analysis to support industries, and energy utilities in auditing and mapping their energy processes.

Currently, the consortium is carrying out several feasibility studies among the 11 demo sites the project is working with. Based on this data, a feasibility tool has been developed and it will be integrated into the final version of the SO WHAT tool.

Testing and validation of the tool are also ongoing, and it is expected for the training materials too to be uploaded in the short term to the SO WHAT website.

Finally, discussions on the markets and exploitation were held and the dissemination strategy was presented.

Interview with Nick Purshouse

“The SO WHAT software will be available in a free online version, aimed at allowing users to get quick understanding and guidance, and a desktop-based commercial version, which will give users a more detailed and complex analysis”

Interview with Nick Purshouse, Project Manager at IESVE

What is the objective behind the development of the SO WHAT tool? 

SO WHAT’s main objective is to develop an integrated software which will support industries and energy utilities to understand their potential waste heat/cooling, and to simulate recovery technologies to enable users to realise ways to get value from this.

Likewise, SO WHAT tool will allow different organisations to understand the potential technologies that could be used to capture and reuse their waste heat or cooling, by also showing which of these technologies could be cost-effectively implemented, and the most appropriate business models to use.

The software will be available in a free online version, aimed at allowing users to get quick understanding and guidance, and a desktop-based commercial version, which will give users a more detailed and complex analysis of the potential for waste heat and cooling recovery at their sites. It will be aimed at both industrial sites and local communities and validated across the eleven demo sites in the project.

What is the status until now? 

The project began in June 2019 and has undergone a year of research into waste heat and cooling recovery and reuse technologies at both an industrial and community scale and research into business models and contractual arrangements were carried out. 

Moreover, the SO WHAT tool was developed by enhancing IES’ suite of Intelligent Community Lifecycle (ICL) for use with industry and for the simulation of waste heat and cooling technologies at both industry and community levels. 

The project is currently in the testing and validating phase of the software and right after it will go through replication, lessons learnt and exploitation exercises before the project come to an end.

Which state-of-the-art technology will it provide to the market and what are its advantages?

SO-WHAT will develop first-of-a-kind simulation software that will:

  1. Model an industrial facility and identify potential concerning waste heat, cool (H/C) and surplus Renewable Energy Systems.
  2. Model the community and its assets to understand the demand profile of the community, which can utilise the waste H/C and RES
  3. Identify the delivery mechanism(s) for how waste H/C and surplus RES can be provided to the Community and/or other industries and the technical, commercial, legal, and financial incentives for doing so.

We can summarise the benefits of the tool as:

  1. Accurate prediction and holistic modelling of industrial waste heat/cold and/or surplus renewable energy from industrial or other sources from different geographical and market settings.
  2. Innovative, sound business models for new stakeholders also allow small industries to start selling their WH/C via new energy services companies (ESCOs) and business models. Valorisation in assessments of cost-benefit of industrial waste heat/cold and/or surplus renewable energy from industrial and eventually other sources .
Interview with Luis Ángel Bujedo Nieto

“From an economic and environmental point of view, it is not enough to work with the total or annual values of the different parameters, we need to consider the evolution as well along time, if truly accurate information is to be obtained”

Interview with Luis Ángel Bujedo Nieto, Head of Energy Systems Area, Energy Division, and Francisco Morentin Gutiérrez, R&D Engineer, Energy Division, at CARTIF

What does an impact analysis consist of?

Briefly summarised, a complete analysis of the impact evaluation provides information on (i) impact achievement (effectiveness), (ii) impact justifies the cost of the action (efficiency) and (iii) more effective and efficient alternatives available on the market.

Impact analyses are usually related to actions that are intended to change something at different levels (technical, social, etcetera). Due to the budget, and the scope linked to large research and development projects (as it could be SO WHAT’s), it is key to carry out an evaluation of their impact. To be able to draw a logical conclusion, this analysis requires quantifying results.

In this sense, the impact assessment must be addressed at two levels: on the one hand, the degree of awareness of the project – how many people are aware of SO-WHAT’s activities and scope-. On the other hand, the evaluation of the impact of the results obtained, which must be linked to users who have used the tool and their satisfaction level.

How does CARTIF carry out this analysis?

First, we would like to highlight that this analysis should be as analytical as possible, based on both direct and indirect measures.

For example, to assess the public’s awareness of the project, a simple measure of media impact can be performed by initially conducting an Internet search and looking at the number of references found. The same thing happens in terms of impacts on social networks, references to publications, etcetera.

From its side, to evaluate the validity of the results obtained, the best way to have a measure is to carry out online surveys, interviews with users, analysis of the number of downloads, etcetera.

In conclusion, the combination of both aspects allows a global impact evaluation, as well as detecting possible areas for improvement. Thus, for example, very good project dissemination but with a reduced number of downloads, or low rates, could indicate that a bad product has been made. However, achieving a high number of references, users, and/or good satisfaction rates, indicates a good product. Anyway, dissemination is a key point, as low dissemination values ​​will logically condition the second part, since it is difficult for anyone to use something that they are not aware exists.

Which lessons learnt are expected to be obtained?

In general terms, the end of any project is a good time to think about what has been well done, and what can be improved. For example, if the same project is carried out twice, surely the second will implement changes with respect to the first one. Therefore, once the project is over, a series of capabilities and skills are expected to be acquired. In this case, the capabilities are related to the analysis, evaluation, and implementation of heat recovery systems, both from the point of view of developing a software application and from its actual implementation.

Although answering the question now would be a bit of a cheat as the results of the simulations are not available yet, we can anticipate the importance of the synchronisation between the demand and the generation of waste heat. Traditionally, it has been considered that the recovery of waste heat is based on a triangle formed by three aspects: the availability of a source of waste heat, the existence of an available receiver of the recovered energy and finally the technical availability and cost-effectiveness of the technology to process (and/or transform) the recovered heat.

However, from an economic and environmental point of view, it is not enough to work with the total or annual values ​​of the above parameters. It will be also necessary to consider the evolution along time, if truly accurate information is to be obtained. In this process, the characterisation of the initial state, as well as the automatic search for recovery points, is possibly the most complex part, since it requires a dynamic analysis in which many factors are considered: simultaneity, temperature values, technical and economic feasibility, etcetera.

Interview with Sara Abd Alla

“RINA will follow up the replication studies that will demonstrate the techno-economic feasibility of industrial heat/cold recovery and ensure maximized scalability and replicability of results”

Interview with Sara Abd Alla, Engineer, Giorgio Bonvicini, Senior Energy Engineer and Arianna Amati, Senior Project Manager at RINA.

What has RINA done so far in terms of validation of the future tool? 

What are the next steps? 

Among its different responsibilities within SO WHAT, RINA leads the tool validation in real industrial demo cases. In this sense, RINA facilitates the interactions between the industrial demos and the project partners. The main aspect of these responsibilities is to focus on the requirements for providing a complete overview of the waste heat/cold streams in the SO WHAT tool. 

In December 2021, RINA submitted a report supplying a framework of the current metering systems available at the demo sites. A gap analysis towards the best practices available was led, and the main issues identified by the partner IESRD in their former report on industrial demo sites assessment were addressed. Commissioning will be further treated in an updated version of this report in light of further developments of the SO WHAT project.

In the upcoming months, RINA will lead the discussion with the clusters on the current and planned installations. For Example Kelvin in close cooperation with  IESVE will validate the way real data from the monitoring platform and simulated data from the SO what tool  leads to a techno-economic feasibility of industrial heat/cold recovery and ensure maximized scalability and replicability of results outlining innovative pathways for rapid replication across the EU.

Interview with Sofia Klugman

Interview with Sofia Klugman

“An attractive business model is crucial for the exploitation of the great potential for industrial waste heat in Europe”

Interview with Sofia Klugman, Researcher and Project Manager at the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL)

Why is it important to carry out a business model analysis for the SO WHAT tool?

An attractive business model is crucial for the exploitation of the great potential for industrial waste heat in Europe. All stakeholders involved need to clarify the advantages and risks of waste heat collaboration. Likewise, roles and undertakings of different stakeholders need to be clear, as could be, for example, the equipment’s ownership or system’s maintenance.

Which aspects of your work will you highlight?

From my perspective, the opportunity to reduce risks by waste heat collaboration is a great advantage, mainly since the heat user will rely less on energies with volatile prices and environmental impact. For industries, a new revenue stream for heat sales occurs and costs for cooling towers could be avoided. For example, if environmental permits limit the release of heat to water, external delivery of waste heat may be a way to expand production. However, to be able to reach these advantages, a great deal of engagement is needed to get collaboration in place, not the least in countries with little experience of district heating and cooling. In this sense, a standardised excess heat recovery policy in the EU would significantly facilitate the progress.

20211028 KTN event-3

Transforming Foundation Industries Conference

Our partner Oliver Milling, from Materials Processing Institute, is presenting the So WHAT Project tool at a conference on energy efficiency (process efficiency, heat recovery) hosted by KTN, 3 November from 9:30 to 12:30.

The session is part of the three-days online conference Transforming Foundation Industries organized by KTN in partnership with TFI Network+ and TransFIRe with the aim to find solution providers to address the challenges of the Foundation Industries (FIs).

The presentations and discussions will consider the innovation opportunities for newer types of heat capture technologies, improved ways for moving heat energy, techniques to better match varying demands and heat streams, opportunities for co-location and methods for quicker evaluation of opportunities.

More information and registrations on this link