April 6, 2021

Expert tips: three of the most common ways to recover heat from industrial processes


At Adven, we develop customised energy and water solutions and look for answers to questions concerning heat recovery in industry. Our experts have listed the most common options for heat recovery and their suitability for different purposes: heat recovery with heat exchangers, energy-efficient MVR-evaporation, and the use of heat pumps.

1) Better efficiency with heat exchangers

The energy recovery capability of heat exchangers is usually excellent. For instance, when the temperature of the flue gases leaving from the combustion plant is about > 180 ° C, heat can be recovered from them cost-effectively. A heat exchanger could increase the heat production of the boiler even by over 20% depending on the fuel used and other boiler operation parameters.

Such heat recovery solutions have been implemented for a long time, but there are still many potential applications in industry. Terrafame starts to produce process steam by utilizing excess energy streams of its hydrogen plants.

2) Efficient evaporation reduces wasted energy

Evaporation is needed in many industrial processes. It is an energy-intensive process that can account for as much as half of the energy usage of the entire plant. If energy use can be reduced by up to 10 per cent, the impact on emissions and energy costs can be significant. Mechanical vapour recompression (MVR) technology enables energy savings of up to 80 to 98% compared to direct vaporisation.

MVR technology is used in Food & Beverage industries, Forest, Pulp & Paper industries, and wastewater treatment, among others. Adven has implemented an MVR evaporation solution for Kotkamills, in which steam consumption was reduced by more than 50 per cent with the new evaporation plant. In the MVR evaporation plant, the vapour from the product is compressed to a higher pressure, and its thermal energy is reused.

Learn more about MVR evaporation

3) Savings with heat pumps

The use of heat pumps in industrial heat recovery has exploded in recent years and heat pump solutions have enabled significant savings. In many large-scale industrial plants, process heat and process steam are produced in local heating plants. In this case, it is often easier to integrate the heat pump with heat production.

For instance, heat pump technology will be used at Viking Malt Group’s new malthouse in Lahti, Finland. Next to the malthouse, Adven implements an energy solution that combines heat pumps and the cooling plant and heat production in a new way. Read about Viking Malt’s energy solution, which enables waste heat to be used to cover more than 65 percent of the heat energy needed in the malthouse.

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