Electricity from industrial waste

Industrial waste heat is being recycled into electricity at Southern Methodist University.

By Consulting-Specifying Engineer Staff June 4, 2008

One of the first commercial waste heat generators, designed by ElectraTherm , has been installed at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. According to the company, the generator—dubbed Green Machine—can produce up to 50 kW of electrical energy, recycled from industrial waste heat. The machine should be able to produce cheap electricity for the university in three to four years.

These units are designed to be scalable and can be safely scaled to produce up to 500 kW of energy. The particular machine installed at Southern Methodist University has exceeded expectations in testing and pushed past its 50 kW rating.

The machine uses the concept of an organic Rankine cycle . A liquid, typically water is heated up by natural heat sources and the resulting vapor is pressurized and used to spin the turbine of an electric generator. The escaping low-pressure vapor is condensed and the process is repeated.

Southern Methodist University is offering tours of its installation to interested companies and energy providers during the Geothermal Energy Utilization Conference , which takes place June 17-18. Tours can be scheduled through Gulf Coast Green Energy by e-mailing Loy Sneary .

A discussion on the history and vision of the ElectraTherm Green Machine featuring CEO Richard Langson is available as a podcast .