A Swedish company named Climeon claims that it has developed a new and superior technology for converting low temperature heat to electricity. I learned about the company late last year, but couldn’t find too much information about them, except what was their web site where they claim:
“Climeon is currently developing a patent-pending power cycle called C3 for converting hot water to electricity that is different from any other thermal to electricity conversion technologies today. The technology is based on a fundamentally different principle, has been optimized from start for the low temperature region and has potential of getting significantly closer to an ideal Carnot cycle than any other existing technology.”
Climeon is receiving funding from the Swedish Energy Agency to help with research and development of the C3 process, and the research is taking place at KTH School of Industrial Engineering, Stockholm University, and Chalmers University of Technology, all in Sweden. (More information here)
Climeon has made a patent application for their process to the World Intellectual Property Organization which can be found here. The description of the process states in part:
“For low temperature conversion specifically, an effective way of minimizing energy losses and reducing material cost would be to cycle around the ambient ground level temperature and around atmospheric pressure. Also maximizing the delta temperature over the expansion machine and minimizing the energy losses during entropy reduction during the cooling part of the cycle is crucial for efficient conversion.
The solution disclosed by this invention optimizes all of the above by dividing the Rankine cycle into a Carbon Carrier Cycle, C3. Instead of a condenser, a carbon dioxide chemical absorption process is used to create a very efficient pressure reduction downstream of the turbine/expansion machine. The working gas for the turbine/expansion machine is thus stored temporarily in liquid state with associated advantages, such as pumpability.
Since the absorption is a spontaneous chemical reaction, the temperature of the gas exiting the turbine/expansion machine may be as low as -70 °C and the efficiency in the cycle can get very close to an ideal Carnot cycle. With a hot source of 90 °C and ambient temperature of 25 °C, the C3 will, due to low energy losses and large delta T, be able to reach 15% corresponding to 300% more electricity compared to current low temperature conversion technologies.”
Given the amount of waste heat that is emitted at all times throughout the world, both naturally, and from machines, a process to convert it to electricity much more efficiently than is currently available would be a tremendous technological breakthrough if it can be shown to work well. Andrea Rossi has mentioned the difficulty of using the low temperature E-Cat to produce electricity. Perhaps this is something he will look into.