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Absorption Heat Transformers Seminar report

Absorption heat transformers (AHT) are devices which transform a large heat resource, which is available at temperature too low for correct thermal matching within an industrial process, in a smaller amount of heat available at a higher temperature level. They differ from traditional heat pumps, in that they use no (or a very limited amount of) electrical power or work. Basically, AHTs work on the principle of an absorption inverse cycle: however the net effect is that of transferring an amount of heat (smaller than the originally available) at a higher temperature level. This allows recovering this heat into industrial processes. Examples of heat transformers can be found in the synthetic rubber plant and have been proposed as a useful add-on to industrial waste heat recovery and for applications related to renewable energies. Being based on absorption inverse cycles, AHTs are not very suitable for small-scale, individual applications. However, they can prove to be very attractive when there is the opportunity to deal with relatively large heat rates ( >200 kW) available at low temperatures. In these applications, they can be more competitive in comparison to large, distributed renewable energy harvesting technologies (such as low-temperature, non-concentrating solar collectors; or parabolic troughs with low concentration ratio). The commercial attractiveness of AHTs lies in the possibility of building a relatively compact unit, which can effectively upgrade a large quantity of heat without needing – for example - a large solar field. In this sense, they can be an effective alternative to hybrid geothermal-solar power plants, which are currently being proposed as a promising technology.

A lot of usable thermal energy in industrial processes has been emitted into environment every year in the world, as the energy waste and serious thermal pollution accompanied by exhaust gases, cooling water or cooling air. On the other hand, many industrial processes require numerous steam or hot water to heat the fluid stream. As a very effective technique, absorption heat transformer (AHT) can be applied to upgrade the large quantity of low-grade waste heat with temperature of 60–100 0 C in industrial processes. Due to the high recovery ratio of waste heat (about 50%), good contribution to environment protection, and little power consumption, AHT is currently becoming a considerable interest in waste heat reutilization in industrial processes regarding both economical and environment-protecting effects.

The low temperature-grade thermal energy, which usually was released into the environment by cooling air or water, was utilized to drive the AHT system. In consequence, part of this waste heat can be transferred to a higher level, and hence reusing in the process. The thermal energy recovered by the AHT system with a capacity of 5000 kW is equivalent to 38,200 tons of steam/year. The generation of this quantity of steam might consume about 2336.7 tons of fuel oil, and 2337 tons of exhaust gas was given off to the air environment, including 104 tons of SO2, 7 tons waste heat in industrial processes of dust, 22 tons of NOx and 0.63 tons of CO. Obviously, it is very significant, from the viewpoint of environmental protection, to applied AHT system to recover the abundant.

The possibility of applying an Absorption Heat Transformer (AHT) to enhance low enthalpy geothermal resources available in the range from 45 to 90 °C and produce electricity with an acceptable efficiency was investigated. The enhanced heat can be used as the hot source of an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), which exploits the geothermal heat (available at 80 - 90 °C) in summer time. Generally the geothermal resource supplies district heating in winter, but when heat demand resets, it becomes attractive to convert a fraction to electricity instead of leaving it waste.

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