GE In Biogas Waste-Heat Recovery Innovation

GE Energy and energy developer ECOS Ltd. have announced plans to demonstrate an innovative, industrial waste-heat recovery system at a 7.2-megawatt (MW) biogas-fired power plant in the eastern Slovenian town of Lendava, near the Hungarian border.

The pilot ORC system will be installed on one of the three GE Jenbacher J420 biogas engines that have powered ECOS’ Bioplinarna Lendava plant since June 2008. The ORC technology will boost the Jenbacher unit’s electrical efficiency by an estimated 5%, the company says, adding that the new pilot Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) waste-heat recovery system for gas engines is designed to make on-site power plants that use natural gas, landfill gas and other waste gases more cost-attractive.

The heat additionally recovered will be used to produce steam, which in turn will generate additional electricity.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and output can be achieved in gas engine power plants through enhanced waste-heat recovery,” said ECOS director and owner Jože Pavlinjek.

ORC systems generally offer enhanced energy efficiency by utilizing organic fluids that have lower boiling points than water to create steam for electricity generation. However, due to technical waste-heat recovery constraints, there had been few gas engine-based ORC applications.

The new gas engine-ORC technology is a milestone, GE claims, as for the first time, all of the waste heat from an engine’s exhaust gas and cooling cycle can be fully captured and utilized to drive the power plant’s enhanced steam-creation process.

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