Pressfittings for industrial heat recovery systemsriannelli
As energy costs rise and the climate crisis becomes increasingly pressing, the ability to recover the energy used in industrial processes becomes very important. The necessary technologies have been available for quite some time, and the costs of implementing heat recovery systems can now be amortised in just a few years. Thanks to steel pressfittings, we can quickly create most energy recovery plants, whether they are based on heat or refrigeration.
Recovering energy dispersed during industrial processing is a very profitable way to save money and natural resources. If we also take into account the fact that many energy recovery plants can, at the same time, partially help reduce polluting emissions from the industries themselves, we can understand how it is, indeed, worth the effort.
Why is heat recovery from industrial processes important?
Industries are responsible for at least one-third of the world’s energy consumption, but almost 50 % of this energy is dispersed as unused heat energy.
Obviously, not all of this heat can be recovered. One of the main problems with heat recovery from industrial processes is the possibility of an adequate assessment of its potential for use. Fortunately, in the last decade, thanks to artificial intelligence, the first virtual energy recovery models have been obtained and have proven to be highly reliable in the field.
Generally, all industries that use large amounts of energy for their production can benefit enormously from heat recovery – steel industries, foundries, and power plants, for example.
In recent years, we have seen significant advances in machinery technology and new materials development. These innovations are and will be able to increase the use of heat energy that is currently being dispersed. For example, let’s look at the substances known as PCM (Phase Changing Materials), which are capable, under certain conditions, of abruptly changing the state of their matter. These properties can be exploited so that heat recovery can also be applied with great profit in medium and low-temperature thermal processes.
The advantages of heat recovery from industrial processes
Three main results can be achieved by reusing the energy produced by industrial processes:
- Lower demands on environmental resources and fewer harmful emissions;
- Additional savings of energy resources;
- In some instances, economic gains are induced by exploiting the high temperatures involved.
The main advantage of energy recovery is undoubtedly the ability to protect the environment by not having to request additional energy from the grid and through the ability of some heat recovery processes to also treat flue gases at the same time. This way, fewer harmful emissions are released into the air than would have been the case without the recovery cycle.
The second advantage lies in the more significant financial savings resulting from being able to place less of a burden on the factory’s energy bill. Recovering heat energy leads the company to require less energy from external operators, both for machinery operations and heating and cooling its rooms.
The third advantage may not apply in all production contexts, but the repercussions are both economic and environmental in those where it is possible. We are talking about cases where the available heat energy is so high that it can be “exported” outside the company. Massive structures such as incinerators and foundries can efficiently redistribute excess heat energy to provide heating or cooling for entire city districts.
Last but not least, improvements in the technologies available today give hope that exporting surplus heat energy can also be used effectively on a smaller scale: not to heat entire districts, but to effectively control the climate of individual units. Using lower heat powers, as in the case of district cooling and low-temperature district heating, we can also fulfil the climate control requirements of individual buildings.
In many cases, the performance of heat recovery systems can be enhanced by using steel pressfittings and pipes. Let’s look at where our fittings can be the most effective and under what conditions.
Advantages and limitations of pressfittings in the construction of heat recovery systems
The speed of the pressfitting system in creating plumbing and heating systems is undoubtedly one of its main advantages. If we combine the qualities of pressfittings with the extraordinary qualities of steel, we can understand why it is one of the most widely used systems in the world, especially in the industrial sector, where professional use and extreme resistance to stress are essential requirements.
Not all industrial systems can be created using pressfittings, however. There are, in fact, very precise limits that must be taken into account from the earliest planning stages. Of course, this also applies to the specific case of industrial heat recovery plants.
Pressfittings are ideally used in these systems in the sections dedicated to final distribution, i.e., from the fluid sorting subsections to the individual utilities. It can also be used effectively in low- and medium-temperature thermal fluid distribution systems, subject to the values provided below.
The maximum operating temperatures and pressures are the main limitations of using pressfittings in heat recovery systems. Another factor to consider is the presence of steam in the system.
- All Eurotubi pressfitting ranges are approved for a maximum operating pressure of 16 bars.
- The temperature ranges in which pressfittings can be used range from -20 °C to + 120 °C if the black EPDM gasket is used;
- When using industrial gaskets made of FKM / FPM (red and green), the maximum operating temperature of the pressfitting is +180 °C Celsius (no steam);
- If there is steam inside the systems, only black EPDM gaskets may be used.
When is an industrial heat recovery plant advantageous?
There are specific characteristics plants must have in order to be able to maximise the use of the heat recovery process. First, the distance from the heat generator – obviously, the closer the source is to the users, the greater the energy gain can be. Other important aspects to consider are the maximum temperature that can be reached, how many hours per day the system is in operation, how difficult it is to construct the transport system, and the cost of the heat recovery system.
In which industries and for which uses can heat recovery systems be used?
The recovered heat energy can have various uses in different industrial plants.
Some uses of heat recovery for the needs of other industrial processes:
- Heating and cooling work environments;
- Sanitary hot water production;
- Preheating and heating other fluids and industrial processes.
Some industries where heat recovery from industrial processes is feasible: iron and steel, petrochemical, paper mills, pharmaceutical production, food, and textiles.
With technological progress always moving forward, heat recovery can now also be used effectively at low to medium temperatures, ideally between 70°C and 85°C.
Excess heat energy can also be converted into cooling energy at higher costs to acquire more specific machinery. Naturally, the cost/benefit ratio must be carefully weighed in these cases.
Heat recovery processes not only bring economic advantages through the use of energy that would otherwise be dispersed, but we can also avoid using additional energy perhaps produced by sources that are more polluting to the environment.
We have seen the advantages of both heat recovery systems and using pressfittings to create these systems. We are dealing with technologies that are now able to make a difference both in saving energy and for the environment.
There should be more incentives offered to use heat recovery systems, as we have seen there are no real technological barriers to their use: institutions, governments and trade associations should encourage industries more towards the use of these systems, both through sharing more information on the subject and at the level of business credit incentives.
We are dealing with an energy source that is free and, in many ways, sustainable. Plus, it can make a tangible contribution to reducing industrial costs (heat recovery plants generally pay for themselves within a few years) while increasing production efficiency and company competitiveness to a certain extent.
For more information regarding the use of steel pressfittings in heat recovery systems, contact our Technical Office by clicking the button below.