Heat integration thanks to vapor recompression: more energy-efficient production processes in the chemical industry through vapor recompression using renewably generated electric power
The German chemical industry requires approximately 8 % of the total German energy consumption, which makes it one of the most energy-intensive sectors of the economy. Thermal separation processes like distillation, rectification and desorption are one of the most common and energy-intensive operations in the process industry.
The WindaB research project has the objective of a resource-saving and energy-efficient electrification of chemical processes through the use of renewable electrical energy in open heat pump systems. One method of reducing specific energy consumption is the efficient use and reuse of heat within a production process. Therefore, the in-process heat integration through mechanical vapor recompression is investigated.
The overall objective of this project is the development of an evaluation method for the early assessment of heat integration processes using vapor recompression as a contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions and fossil fuel consumption in the chemical industry. A coupled consideration of technical feasibility, economic competitiveness, and environmental advantageousness enables an integrated and comprehensive assessment of possible heat integration options based on existing compressor and heat exchanger technologies.
For this purpose, the IFAS develops a fast and robust module, which enables the identification of the optimal compressor architecture for specific vapor compression application. Furthermore, this module should enable a well-founded preliminary design of the optimal compressor architecture in order to predict the main dimensions and other aspects such as the costs. An evaluation system is used to determine the most ecologically and economically favorable compressor architecture.
The project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), began in 2022 and have a duration of 36 months. Form the TU Braunschweig the Institute for Chemical and Thermal Process Engineering as well as the Institute of Jet Propulsion and Turbomachinery are participating in this project.
As operators of the vapor compression scenarios representatives of the chemical industry BASF SE, Covestro, Evonik and Lanxess as well as the compressor manufacturers MAN Energy Solutions and Piller Blowers & Compressors are involved in the project.