Pilotproject SteamExpander at Emmtec succesful
Emmtec Industry & Business Park is a unique place in the Drentse Emmen. Here, scientific and research institutions and regional businesses bundle their knowledge and skills to create new, innovative businesses in the plastics sector. The Emmtec Industry & Business Park currently houses about 14 businesses and organisations.
From high pressure to low pressure
Richard de Haan is asset manager at Emmtec and is responsible for all the installations of Emmtec services. One aspect that is arranged centrally here is the energy provision: 'More than half of all the businesses established here use the centrally generated steam power, which is transported to the client through a high-pressure steam pipe, where steam reduction subsequently takes place.'
'A costly system with a low yield. After all, the steam reduction only results in lower pressure', explains Richard. 'At some point, we came into contact with Innecs Power Systems, which was looking for a pilot plant for one of its new concepts, the SteamExpander. This concept provides for an independent electricity supply by way of steam reduction. We were interested because it appeared to be exactly the right solution for our situation.'
Richard: 'After several discussions, the decision was made to start the pilot project here, at Emmtec, and to develop it further, together. At one of the businesses here in the park, we built a test installation in which we installed the SteamExpander.'
'The principle is actually quite simple: the SteamExpander is capable of reducing steam pressure and is used instead of the customary reducing station. The pressure drop enables an axle to actuate a generator, which, in turn, generates electricity. This makes it possible to provide in the individual clients' energy needs. In other words, you could call it “free electricity”! This implies higher turnovers, lower consumption of electricity from the grid, and a faster payback period.'
'This is also a good learning case for us. The installation has operated in a stable manner since September last year. No problems were encountered during the previous maintenance check and the SteamExander passed the test effortlessly. The installation currently supplies 122 kW, but this can easily be increased to 150 kW.'
Innecs is currently working on 2 projects with Emmtec Engineering (Emmtec also designed the electric control cabinet), which includes a project in Germany in which Emmtec will possibly play the role of main contractor. 'The SteamExpander not only appears to be a good solution for co-siting, as is the case here at Emmtec, but it is also very interesting for individual businesses, where reducing the pressure of the steam can be used to generate electricity', explains Richard de Haan.