Research Institute Says Paper Industry Can Save Energy with New Heat Pump Concept

Innovative concept upgrades industrial waste heat to higher temperatures so it can be reused in the process.

July 9, 2013 (Press Release) - The paper industry can save approximately 10 percent of its energy use by deploying a new heat pump concept, developed by the Energy research centre of the Netherlands (ECN), which makes the process of paper manufacturing more sustainable and more affordable.

ECN, the largest energy research institute in the Netherlands, and Bronswerk Heat Transfer, worldwide supplier of heat transfer solutions, signed a license agreement on Friday July 5th for selling the concept on the market. The innovative concept upgrades industrial waste heat to higher temperatures so it can be reused in the process.

The temperature of most industrial waste heat is too low to be reused. Therefore, heat pumps upgrade the temperature to higher levels. The application developed by ECN offers an economically viable method to upgrade the temperature of waste heat to such levels that it can be reused in the industrial process, resulting in a significant energy saving.

"Thanks to ECNís concept, reusing waste heat has come within reach for multiple industrial applications. With this technique the paper industry can make a giant leap towards a more sustainable and efficient production process," Robert Kleiburg, COO of ECN says.

According to Sjaak Remmerswaal, President of Bronswerk Heat Transfer, a more sustainable industry must be economically viable.

"If we can earn back our sustainable technologies by energy savings and lower costs, we increase the incentive to make the switch. We are very optimistic about the market prospects of this system," Remmerswaal says.

The concept is considered innovative because of the much higher temperatures that can be achieved. By using a natural refrigerant the heat pump within this system can upgrade the temperature of the waste heat from 60 up to 140 degrees Celsius to produce steam, which is much higher compared to common heat pump systems.

ECN and Bronswerk, together with packaging specialist SmurfitKappa and air conditioning and refrigeration technology specialist IBK, are testing the concept on a small scale (200 kW) at SmurfitKappa Roermond Paper.

"This innovation fits perfectly with our ambition to halve the energy consumption in the whole chain," Henk Hoevers, Vice-president Technology at SmurfitKappa emphasises.

Based in the netherlands, ECN develops high-quality knowledge and technology for the transition to sustainable energy management, and introduces this knowledge and technology to the market. ECN's focus is on energy conservation, sustainable energy and an efficient and clean use of fossil fuels. For further information, visit