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Evaluation of a hygroscopic condenser
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE).
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Utvärdering av hygroskopisk kondensor (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

In Sweden the industries releases about 50 TWh / year of low temperature waste heat[1], often in the form of humid air flows. Today, conventional flue gas condensation is only exploiting a minor part of the energy from these flows. It is a well-established and profit­able way of improving the efficiency of district heating plants and other boilers for wet fuels. How­ever, the condensation is only applicable when the dew point of the flue gas is above the temperature demand for the heating net. The paper industry gives a good illustration of the limitations for conventional condensation: several MW of wet air streams with dew points of 60-65 ̊ C are released but cannot be recovered since the tempe­ra­ture demand is 70-80 ̊ C for the heating net. Different technologies for more advanced waste heat recovery are developing and this report is evaluating a demonstration plant for “hygro­scopic condenser”, which uses a hygroscopic solution that allows condensation above the dew point. The hygro­scopic solution is potassium formate, which enables condensation to start about 20 ̊ C above the dew point and is sufficiently non-toxic and non-corrosive.

The objective of this work is to evaluate both the equipment and the process during some initial tests at the paper mill at Holmen, Braviken. The aim is also to suggest improvements of the process, the components and the additional equipment for future continuous operation. 

The equipment consists of two main parts:  a hygroscopic absorption stage and a regene­ration stage. The major part of the humid air is led into an absorption column where vapor is absorbed by the formate solution and rises its temperature. This recovered waste heat is transferred to the heating net by a plate heat exchanger. The regeneration unit is used to maintain the hygroscopic concentrations by evaporation of vapor from the formate solution (amount of absorbed vapor = amount of evaporated vapor). The regene­rator is driven by process steam from the existing 3.5 bar net. The evaporated vapor is led to a conventional condenser where the regeneration energy can be recovered and the condensate is bled off.  The recovered heat from the process (hygroscopic absorber + regeneration condenser) is used in the heating net at Holmen, Braviken (VVG-net).   

The initial tests have been made during 15 hours of initial operation, when the equipment has delivered about 3 MWh in total. The tests show a good temperature performance since the dew point of the humid air has been lowered from about 60oC to 47oC. The reco­vered heat was used for heating from 65oC to about 80oC. During the initial tests the capacity has not yet reached the design values. As an example the delivered heat was measured to 280 kW where­of 46kW from absorbed vapor, 129 kW from the sensible heat in the incoming humid air and 105 kW from the regeneration. The bottle-neck parts of the equipment have been localized and will be overseen during the summer of 2011 and the process is planned to be in use during the autumn with an output capacity of 500kW. The coefficient of performance (COP) is calculated to just below 2 during normal operation but was about 2.7 in the test runs due to the high portion of sensible heat.

[1]Förekomst av industriellt spillvärme vid låga temperaturer,  Ingrid Nyström, Per-Åke Franck, Industriell Energianalys AB, 2002-04-15

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Hygroscopic, condenser, waste heat, heating, absorption, heat pump, pilot plant
National Category
Chemical Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-49842OAI: diva2:460449
Subject / course
Chemical Engineering
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Chemical Science and Engineering
Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics
Available from: 2011-11-30 Created: 2011-11-30 Last updated: 2011-12-01Bibliographically approved

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