At this very moment, ElectraTherm is releasing details of the successful installation of its new product, a commercial waste heat generator called the Green Machine. ElectraTherm tested their first Green Machine at none other than my alma mater, Southern Methodist University, and the results exceeded initial expectations. Stated simply, the Green Machine makes electricity from residual industrial heat that usually just goes to waste. ElectraTherm’s new product employs minimal heat (200 degrees F liquid) to generate fuel-free, emissions-free electricity at $0.03 – $0.04 per kWh during a three-year payback period and at under $0.01 per kWh after that. SMU’s test of the 50 kW Green Machine reached output well beyond the 50 kW rating.
What’s unique about this installation of the Green Machine at SMU is that it shows that the technology can be implemented on a smaller scale — making it available to a wide range of industries. The electricity produced at SMU using waste heat is equivalent to the electricity used by roughly forty (40) 2000 sf homes.
ElectraTherm explains some of the cost advantages of their new technology: "The company’s patented Twin Screw Expander enables the ElectraTherm Green Machine. The expander is 1/10th the cost of a turbine as the energy block. Because the energy block generally constitutes 30 to 40 percent of the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system cost, the ElectraTherm Green Machine is approximately 30 percent less than any turbine ORC system. The unit operates without gearboxes or high end electronics required to synchronize a turbine to a generator. Inline process lubrication eliminates oil pumps, filters, separator tanks, parasitic loads and maintenance issues heretofore associated with lubrication. Hence, this groundbreaking technology greatly reduces maintenance and greatly extends the life of the ElectraTherm Green Machine over turbine-based energy solutions."
The Green Machine waste heat generator uses the ORC to recover energy from stationary engines, industrial manufacturing and process plants, thermal oxidizers, and geothermal, etc. to produce from 25 kW to 1.5 MW of electrical power. The Department of Energy reports that sources of waste heat are plentiful, and as a result, we can expect to see more of ElectraTherm in the future.