New approaches to recovery residual low temperature energy

$20,000 USD
Challenge closed

Challenge overview

OVERVIEW

The purpose of this Challenge is to find new, innovative approaches to efficient and cost-effective recovery of residual low temperature energy that remains in the process streams after the primary process is complete.

The efficient recovery of waste heat generated by modern industrial process equipment has enormous potential at a wide range of sites globally. Part of this generated heat in the form of high temperature (>100°C) energy is used to produce electricity. However, at least half, and most likely even more, of this heat remains unused in the form of residual low temperature (40-60°C) heat energy (this can be >100 MWth for a single large industrial application, and typical industrial sites may have many applications). Commonly, water evaporation is used to reject the heat to the atmosphere through cooling towers.

Several technologies have been tried to recover this residual low temperature. Unfortunately, these technologies all turned out to be economically unsustainable for this purpose. As a result, the low temperature heat energy is not currently utilized at scale. This results in the loss of potentially monetizable value.

The goal of this Challenge is to find new, innovative approaches to efficient and cost-effective recovery of residual low temperature (40-60°C) energy. Its objective is two-fold:

  1. To monetize the intrinsic value of the residual low temperature heat by transforming it into forms of energy that can be re-used both locally after being collected and exported.
  2. Reduce GHG emissions
  3. Reduce water usage (or increase water recovery)

This is a Prize Challenge which requires a written proposal to be submitted. There will be a guaranteed award pool of $20,000, with at least one award of $5,000 or larger and no award being smaller than $2,500. Award distribution (or allocation) will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposals. By submitting a proposal, the Solver grants the Seeker a right to use any information included in their proposal.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on XYZ, 202N.

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THE CHALLENGE

Background

The efficient recovery of waste heat generated by modern industrial process equipment has large potential economic value. Part of this generated heat in the form of high temperature (>100°C) energy is used to produce electricity (figure below). However, at least half, and most likely even more, of this heat remains unused in the process streams after the primary manufacturing processes are complete. While some technologies exist, they are often not economic to implement.

Reference: Are you still wasting heat? Why not profit from it? | Darcy Partners

Several technologies, such as simple heat exchangers and organic Rankine power cycles have been tried to recover this residual low temperature (40-60°C) heat energy (for more detailed description of technologies currently used to extract the residual low energy temperature, see the attached Table 1). Unfortunately, these technologies all turned out to be economically unsustainable for this purpose. At best, they can be used near the facility that has produced them, for example, for district heating.

Absent this possibility, the low temperature heat energy is released through cooling towers, which represents a loss of potential economic value and also requires the utilization of water for evaporation.

The objective of this approach is two-fold:

  1. To monetize the intrinsic value of the residual low temperature heat by transforming it into forms of energy that can be re-used both locally after being collected and exported.
  2. To further reduce GHG emissions and to conserve water resources

 

The Challenge

The objective of this Challenge is to find new, innovative approaches to efficient and cost-effective recovery of residual low temperature (40-60°C) energy that remains in the process streams after the primary process is complete.

We envision that already existing technologies — or technologies that could be adapted to this purpose with a minimum investment of time and resources — could be identified that could extract this energy in both efficient and cost-effective ways. In practical terms, that would mean that the proposed technology could extract up to 70% of the residual low temperature energy in a way that its monetized value exceeded the expense of its extraction.

We also envision that the proposed technology would be able to extract the residual low temperature energy at scale (>100 MWth).

Finally, we envision that the proposed technology was of a “plug-and-play” style, i.e., didn’t affect the upstream operations, so that that the heat recovery process didn’t intervene with the operation of the industrial facility generating heat.  

Important! Although our preference would be for the technologies that haven’t yet been tested for the recovery of the residual low energy heat, we’re open to any suggestions to modify existing technologies (including those listed in the attached Table 1) but only if a dramatic improvement in performance could be achieved.

Also, important! While our clear preference is for a technological solution to the problem, we’re willing to consider a proposal suggesting a new business model allowing to achieve the objective of this Challenge.

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

We’re open to any innovative approach for as long as the proposed technology meets the following Solution Requirements:

  1. The proposed technology is capable to recover up to 70% of the residual low temperature energy in a way that its monetized value exceeded the expense of its extraction.
  2. The proposed technology should be of the “plug-and-play” style, i.e., not to affect the upstream operations, so that that the heat recovery process didn’t intervene with the operation of the industrial facility generating heat. 
  3. Ideally, the proposed solution does not utilize abundant water or recovers water vapor
  4. Ideally, the proposed solution does not add GHG emission.
  5. Ideally, the proposed solution would be “off the shelf,” i.e., commercially available. (In this case, the Solvers are expected to list the providers of the proposed technology.)
  6. For business model suggestions, an indication of the potential customer demand and/or market size

At the same time, we will not accept solutions that are:

  • Rely on early-stage academic studies, which will require years of development to be transformed into a viable industrial technology.
  • Will increase the overall GHG emissions and water consumption of the industrial process.
  • Business models involving biological applications, such as for helping to grow food or flowers, or creation of a heated public pool.

Solutions with Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 4-7 are invited.

This is a Prize Challenge, which has the following features:

  1. There will be a guaranteed award of $20,000, with at least one award being $5,000 or larger and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  2. The award distribution will be determined after theoretical evaluation of the proposals by the Seeker.
  3. By submitting a proposal, the Solver grants the Seeker a right to use any information included in their proposal.
  4. The Seeker may also issue “Honorable Mention” recognitions for notable submissions that are not selected for monetary awards.

YOUR SUBMISSION

Please login and register your interest, to complete the submission form.

The submitted proposals must be written in English and can include:

  1. Participation type – you will first be asked to inform us how you are participating in this challenge, as a Solver (Individual) or Solver (Organization).
  2. Solution Stage - the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of your solution, TRL1-3 ideation, TRL4-6 proof of concept, TRL7-9 production ready.
  3. Problem & Opportunity - highlight the innovation in your approach to the Problem, its point of difference, and the specific advantages/benefits this brings (up to 500 words).
  4. Solution Overview - detail the features of your solution and how they address the Solution Requirements (up to 500 words, there is space to add more, and to add any appropriate supporting data, diagrams, etc).
  5. Experience - Expertise, use cases and skills you or your organization have in relation to your proposed solution. The Seeker may wish to partner at the conclusion of the Challenge; please include a statement indicating your interest in partnering (up to 500 words).
  6. Solution Risks - any risks you see with your solution and how you would plan for this (up to 500 words).
  7. Timeline, capability, and costs - describe what you think is required to deliver the solution, estimated time and cost (up to 500 words).
  8. References - provide links to any publications or press releases of relevance (up to 500 words).

Wazoku encourages the use by Solvers of AI approaches to help develop their submissions, though any produced solely with generative AI are not of interest.

Find out more about participation in Wazoku Crowd Challenges.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on XYZ, 2023.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Your submission will be evaluated by the evaluation team first reviewing the information and content you have submitted at the submission form, with attachments used as additional context to your form submission. Submissions relying solely on attachments will receive less attention from the evaluation team.

After the Challenge submission due date, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the winning solution(s) according to the timeline in the Challenge header. All Solvers who submit a proposal will be notified about the status of their submissions.

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