Steam-based technologies aim to maximise energy efficiency

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Steam-based technologies aim to maximise energy efficiencyBuilding on its existing steam technology, Heliex Power has introduced three new products to help a variety of industries maximise their energy efficiency. Working with City, University of London, Heiex developed a way of harnessing “wet” steam — a ubiquitous, yet frequently untapped, energy source. Together they created the steam expander, Heliex’s core technology which harnesses the energy from standard industrial steam to generate mechanical power.

Heliex’s first use of the expander was in the Heliex GenSet, launched in 2013, where it is used to drive a standard industrial generator, allowing businesses to produce electricity from the wet steam created in many of their processes.

Now, the company has extended the use of the expander to drive a range of rotating equipment, such as pumps and blowers, with its Heliex SteamDrive — and claims that the expander can drive machinery more efficiently and cost-effectively than an electric motor.

The company’s second new technology, the Heliex AirComp, uses a Heliex steam expander system to drive high-efficiency compressors. This is seen as being up to 18 per cent more efficient than using an electrical motor, typically delivering savings in excess of £80,000 per year for a standard 100kW machine.

Steam re-energised

The third new technology is the Heliex SteamComp, which uses the original steam expander system in reverse. It allows plant operators to re-energise steam which has already been through a process, instead of having to condense and evaporate it again. The technology is already being deployed by a packaging manufacturer on its production lines and is seen as having potential applications in industries such as pulp and paper, tyres, food processing, and chemicals.

Chris Armitage, Chief Executive of Heliex Power, said: “The launch of these three new products demonstrates the level of commitment we have to innovation and R&D, as well as developing Heliex as a company. Steam is often seen as a technology consigned to the Victorian era, but it still has huge potential and enormous benefits to offer modern industry and society.

“AirComp, SteamDrive, and SteamComp complement our existing technology, which remains a unique proposition for businesses looking to generate electricity from their wet steam. They will also open up new opportunities for us — compressed air, for example, is even more plentiful on industrial sites than steam, making the potential market very large for that system alone.”

Armitage added: “The benefits offered by all of our technologies speak for themselves: cost savings, reduced energy consumption, and enhanced sustainability. We expect to see strong appetite from the industrial sector, both in the UK and further afield, and a wide variety of potential applications.”



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