Decision Framework for Feasibility Analysis of Introducing the Steam Turbine Unit to Recover Industrial Waste Heat Based on Economic and Environmental Assessment

Significance Statement

Various technologies involved in reduction of carbon emissions have been implemented in order to provide an equal source of energy supply and in essence, produce gases which are non-toxic to the environment. In view of advancing energy efficiency, recovery of heat energy from industrial waste which can be classified as a source of renewable energy can certainly satisfy both economic and environmental benefits.

A steam turbine unit can efficiently serve as one of the techniques used for waste heat recovery. However, little or no assessment has been made in essence, of providing a decision framework to test its economic and environmental impacts.

Wujie Zhang and colleagues from Zhejiang University in China provided a decision framework for initiating a feasible criterion by simply undergoing an economic and environmental assessment of an industrial waste heat recovery from a steam turbine unit. The research is now published in Journal of Cleaner Production.

Two working modes of the steam turbine unit were considered as a result of their energy output; electrical and mechanical driving force. After certain assumptions, the authors established economic and environmental models which were based on cost-benefit analysis and life-cycle assessment in order to ascertain the benefits of waste heat recovery from the steam turbine unit according to their respective working modes.

The decision framework incorporates three possible outcomes each for both economic benefit and environmental impact of the steam turbine unit. Nine possible combinations were also provided by the cost-benefit analysis and life-cycle assessment results in order to maximize the economic and environmental benefits of the steam turbine unit. Further analysis, however, indicated that the working mode based on the mechanical driving force showed more environmental benefits, but the economic profits remained the same for the two working modes.

The derived decision framework when utilized in a case study of a petrochemical plant, producing terephthalic acid in China, observed a payback period of 2.28 years with energy conservation as high as 2 x 105 GJ for an approximate payback period of 0.12 years. This result shows that the decision framework provided by the way of the authors, can efficiently assess the environmental and economic benefits of an industrial waste heat recovery system.

With the aid of decision framework, in view of providing feasibility analysis on a waste heat recovery technique, the authors were able to show that the steam turbine unit not only conforms to a renewable energy source, but also provides both economic and environmental benefits to consumers.

Journal Reference

W. Zhang1,2, F. Gu3, F. Dai1,2, X. Gu1,2, F. Yue1,2, B. Bao1,2, Decision Framework for Feasibility Analysis of Introducing the Steam Turbine Unit to Recover Industrial Waste Heat Based on Economic and Environmental Assessment, Journal of Cleaner Production 137 (2016) 1491-1502.

Show Affiliations
  1. Key Laboratory of Advanced Manufacturing Technology of Zhejiang Province, College of Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China.
  2. The State Key Laboratory of Fluid Power Transmission and Control, College of Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China.
  3. Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, 315100, China.

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