Cheaper than Solar PV? Why low temperature Heat Power makes sense

October 10, 2017 Rakshith Sachitanand

Industrial production sites usually have large quantities of waste heat in their processes, much of it at a temperature too low for utilization in conventional waste heat recovery systems.

Industrial production sites usually have large quantities of waste heat in their processes, much of it at a temperature too low for utilization in conventional waste heat recovery systems.

In these cases, specialized low temperature Waste Heat Recovery Systems (WHRS), manufactured by Climeon or similar can be employed to generate electricity from this otherwise wasted heat.

These systems tend to have a higher upfront cost, but operate effectively year-round, generating reliable power for the plant while reducing its energy bill and carbon footprint.

But how do the economics stack up compared to Solar power?

Solar based power generation is gaining in popularity for good reason. Conversion of the suns abundant energy to electricity occurs with minimal lifecycle emissions and at a very attractive price. 

This, together with regulatory obligations has led to an increase in solar PV investments in India from heavy industry segments such as steel [5] and cement [8].

One way to compare the lifetime generation cost of competing technologies is to by calculating their levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). LCOE is a net present value based method that estimates the total cost of building and operating a plant over its lifetime.

Assumptions related to the calculations can be found at the end of this article.

The results of this analysis are summarized in the table below:

 

As we can see, there is one distinct difference between the two technologies: the number of electricity units produced:

 

A low temperature heat power system achieves a 5x increase in electricity production compared to an equivalently sized solar PV system for the same unit price of generation (approx.INR 3.6-3.8 per unit).

As a direct consequence, the heat power system achieves a 5x increase in CO2 savings compared to a solar PV installation of the same capacity.

The generation cost from a solar PV park is comparable to that from a typical low temperature heat power system (see graph):

The message seems clear: For industries looking to make money while doing good for the environment, low temperature heat power is a sound investment.

Click  here  to learn more about Climeon Heat Power.

Appendix

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) of India places the capital cost of solar power at 530 lac INR per installed MW (706 k€/MWp) [3]. However, the true unit cost of electricity generation is also influenced by:

(i) Availability or capacity utilization factor- For solar plants, this is dependent on the duration and quality of solar radiation and is consequently a function of geographical location. Figures vary from as low as 10% [5] to as high as 24% [4]. For most installations, this figure is around 17% [7].

(ii) O&M costs- These vary widely as well depending on location but 20 kUSD/MWp-y [6] is often used as an indicative figure.

(iii) Degradation rate- An indicative figure for solar cells is 0.5% per year although this could be higher [6].

The following data is used to estimate the LCOE for a solar PV park:

LCOE is calculated according to the following expression [6]:

Where:

t = system life [years]

CAPEX = total initial investment (CAPEX) [€/kWp]

OPEX = annual operation and maintenance expenditures (OPEX) [€/kWp]

RV = residual value [€/kWp]

r = discount rate [%]

Y0= initial yield [kWh]

D= system degradation rate [%]

References:

  1. https://www.eia.gov/todayinene...
  2. http://www.renewableenergyworl...
  3. http://www.cercind.gov.in/2016/orders/SO17.pdf|
  4. https://www.nrel.gov/analysis/...
  5. http://www.tatasteel.com/media...
  6. http://www.solarbankability.or...
  7. http://www.sciencedirect.com/s...
  8. http://www.thehindubusinesslin...

 

 

About the Author

Rakshith Sachitanand

Business Development Manager

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