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ElectraTherm and Navy to demonstrate shipboard waste heat recovery

ElectraTherm, a leader in distributed, waste heat to power generation, is working with the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Creare, and the US Naval Academy (USNA) to demonstrate gas turbine waste heat recovery as part of a Small Business Innovation Research project. The demonstration will take place at the USNA in Annapolis, Maryland to prove the potential for waste heat recovery onboard ships.

ElectraTherm’s Power+ Generator captures low temperature waste heat to generate fuel-free, emission-free power. At the USNA, the Power+ will capture the waste heat from an existing helicopter turbine used to train the USNA Midshipmen, using a custom designed exhaust gas heat exchanger provided by Creare.

The 390 hp helicopter turbine’s exhaust will be converted to hot water—the fuel for the ElectraTherm ORC and the Power+ Generator will convert that exhaust into approximately 50kW of gross power. The demonstration will offer proof of concept for significant fuel savings via turbine or reciprocating engine waste heat streams aboard ships, a waste heat recovery source readily available and vastly underutilized.

ElectraTherm utilizes Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and proprietary technologies to generate power from low temperature heat ranging from 170-252°F. Hot water is the only fuel consumed by the Power+.

The waste heat is used to produce a high pressure vapor that expands through ElectraTherm’s twin screw power block, spinning an electric generator to produce fuel-free, emission-free power. After spinning the expander, the vapor is condensed back into liquid through a liquid loop radiator. The Power+ produces power from an unutilized resource increasing prime mover efficiency and can provide significant fuel savings.

This is ElectraTherm’s third project with the Department of Defense, so we have confidence with their ability to meet expectations and performance requirements. We will utilize a Power+ Generator 4400 to demonstrate waste heat recovery at this smaller scale. The technology maturity, robustness and low maintenance requirements were attractive reasons for choosing the ElectraTherm system, and we look forward to a successful demonstration with their team.

—Roger Hill, Lead Project Engineer at Creare

ElectraTherm’s Power+ Generator utilizes waste heat on applications such as internal combustion engines, biomass boilers, flare gas (at oil & gas wells, wastewater treatment plants and landfills), geothermal/co-produced fluids, and more. ElectraTherm’s fleet of more than 50 Power+ Generators has accrued more than 760,000 hours of runtime to date.

Funding for this project is provided by the Office of Naval Research and the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy.

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