“The steam re-compressor is an important solution for heat reuse,” says Kees Biesheuvel, our technology and innovation manager at Dow Benelux. “With this machine, we can reuse the energy we generate from steam again and again. The steam re-compressor actually pressurizes our residual steam, which in turn increases its temperature and energy value.”
The use of the steam re-compressor
The innovation in the steam re-compressor lies in the re-evaluation of residual steam. Typically, this surplus steam is condensed, causing the heat to be lost. Using the steam re-compressor, the residual steam is pressurized again, increasing the temperature of this steam and its energy value. The energy is then suitable for reuse.
For the image: at Dow we produce chemical components that can later be used to make other chemicals and plastics. In this process a lot of CO2 is emitted. This is because we have to transport, crack or combine molecules, which requires a lot of energy. Part of that energy goes into the molecules and we use most of the excess energy to make steam. Thanks to the innovative steam re-compressor, we will soon keep that energy in our factory instead of needing extra energy to generate steam. In this way, we are getting closer and closer to circular use of heat without a carbon footprint.
The operation of the steam re-compressor
Steam at a pressure of 3.5 bar is upgraded in the machine to steam at a pressure of 12 bar. It is also upgraded from 120 to 130 to 200 to 300 degrees Celsius. We have an excess capacity of steam at a pressure of 3.5 bar. The energy gain in reprocessing is great, the test shows. The full energy content of the steam can be used again with a relatively small amount of electricity. It may well be that ten times less electricity is needed than with the old process.