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CO2OLHEAT – Harnessing waste heat to generate cleaner energy

As tackling climate change becomes a more urgent priority for governments around the world, the demand for cleaner energy is growing. With finite resources and issues with current practices widely publicised, companies and governments alike are constantly exploring new techniques to produce energy in the most environmentally efficient way.

As part of our pursuit to be continuously innovating, Heatric is proud to be involved in the CO2OLHeat project, applying our technical expertise to support cleaner energy production.

CO2OLHeat is a European Union funded project running from June 2021 to May 2025 involving a consortium of partners from all over Europe and the UK, with the demonstration plant to be located in the Czech Republic. The project has brought together a range of businesses with expertise in technology, energy, power generation and research, to reduce carbon emissions by performing waste heat recovery (WHR) utilising sCO2 as a working fluid.

The ultimate mission for this pioneering project is to substantially reduce power consumption by adding a non-CO2 emitting energy system to the site, thus becoming the EU’s first supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) industrial plant. If successful, it will deliver widespread technical, environmental, and economic benefits.

Revolutionising the energy cycle

The project will contribute to the improvement of industry’s energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, whilst mitigating electricity consumption. Due to the utilisation of WHR, it will also introduce the concept of a circular economy and industrial symbiosis in heat management.

The project itself has three main goals:

  1. Untapping Industrial Waste Heat potential

By implementing the design of a new WH2P plant layout, wasted heat will be recovered in an efficient and cost-effective way to be used to power the turbines, to create cleaner energy.

  1. Innovation, economic viability and easy replicability

This is a pioneering project, as WHR using sCO2 as a working fluid has never been successful in a project at this scale, and therefore state of the art technology will be used in innovative ways to ensure that the machinery is integrated efficiently.

A key component of potential success is the cost effectiveness of the machinery, and the possible replication of the concept, so that it will be possible for other industries, such as aluminium, steel, glass, waste incinerations, concentrated solar power, and combined cycle gas turbines.

  1. Increase of energy efficiency

The final goal is improving the energy efficiency of Resource and Energy Intensive Industries (REII’s) through waste heat valorisation, before being converted into electricity and being re-injected into the industrial process. This will enable grid flexibility and reduce overall energy costs.

 Creating highly efficient gas turbines

Source: CO2OLHeat

The project is based on a recuperated closed loop Brayton cycle, utilising sCO2 as the working fluid. Supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) is created when the combined temperature and pressure of carbon dioxide is raised to a point above 31°C and a pressure above 74 Bar, and it starts to behave like a gas, but with the density of a liquid.

This makes sCO2 a prime working fluid for power cycles, as the gas is high in density and thermally stable, allowing system components to be reduced in size to provide highly efficient and effective gas turbines. As the sCO2 will be contained inside a closed-loop Brayton cycle, there is also no need for an operator. As a result, this system is relatively independent and is very well suited for a remote operation.

Due to its flexibility (compact size and capability to better accommodate load changes), high efficiency and the ability to work with significant temperatures, the sCO2 power block offsets the disadvantages of traditional waste to heat power applications.

PCHEs: Delivering space, weight and heat efficiency benefits

For this project, Heatric is designing and manufacturing a Recuperator Heat Exchanger to be part of the CO2OLHeat Power Block, in addition to providing a mock-up of the heat exchanger to be tested at Brunel University. Our involvement in other major sCO2 projects makes us uniquely capable to use our expertise to supply the Recuperator Heat Exchangers.

Our PCHE (Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger) is ideal for the project due to its compact size and high performance. Moreover, CO2OLHeat will use a recuperative sCO2 cycle to achieve the target plant efficiency, which requires the Recuperator Heat Exchanger to have a large surface area and integrate with other components to optimise the Power Block. Not only are Heatric PCHEs compact, but our manufacturing process ensures that our PCHEs have high integrity, strength and effectiveness.

Heatric has previously supported many previous sCO2 power cycles being tested at various scales. The CO2OLHeat project presents an opportunity to refine our technology components for new markets with industry leaders, develop a full sized sCO2 Waste Heat Recovery system, and make a significant step towards the deployment of WHR sCO2 power systems to decarbonise existing industries.

New frontiers: Cleaner power generation

The combined expertise of Heatric and the consortium partners is unlocking the potential of large-scale WHR. This co-operation creates an opportunity for the Supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) package to be applied in a real industrial environment thus supporting the global drive in reducing the environmental impact of existing industries.

More information on the project and consortium partners can be found on the project website: https://co2olheat-h2020.eu/.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under GA n. 101022831.

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