A test run of a sustainable innovative development is always secretly looked at with expectation. So too in the case of last year's steam re-compressor trial. The danger of being optimistic is that it can be a disappointment, but that did not happen with the steam compressor. On the contrary: the results turned out much better than expected.
The steam re-compressor successfully reuses the energy contained in the residual steam. This system is not unique. It has been used for some time in the paper and food industries, among others. It involves using electricity to reheat and pressurize steam that has cooled when used in production processes.
Much better than expected
Even though the system was already being used in other industries, without adjustments those are not suitable for a chemical company like Dow. For the production of plastics, much higher temperatures and pressures are used here than in the paper and food industries.
Therefore, a new machine was built, for which both the government and the province provided subsidies. The device works better than expected. The design is based on ten tons per hour. We are achieving fourteen tons. That makes it look very promising.
The experimental setup and the potential
“Very promising results, as the setup which is quite small considering it is a trial only compresses 1 percent of our total steam consumption. Still, that alone accounted for a reduction of 20,000 tons of CO2 per year. A savings of 0.5 percent on our company's total CO2 emissions. These numbers will get higher as we continue to develop the re-compressor. And we will certainly continue to do so with these results,” says Kees Biesheuvel Technology and Innovation Manager at Dow Benelux.