Recycling and reusing waste heat as a means of environmental consciousness

Hot water storage tanks

Research into methods that preserve and innovate in energy efficiency through after coolers has exploded in the past couple decades. All manner of heavy and light industry have to had this research into account when considering their environmental impact. One of the most exciting breakthroughs in this area has been shell and tube heat exchangers, which takes excess heat from other processes and reuses it as an additional means of power. These machines, Munters, Fabsco, Elanco, etc, are revolutionizing the way that industries power themselves and reduce their impact on the natural world. They even come in three different configurations- parallel-flow or counterflow, cross-flow, and shell-and-tube.
The way that after coolers work is comparatively simple. The heat transfer occurs between two fluids that are different temperatures and come into contact. The laws of physics state the heat must flow from the hotter to the cooler fluid and it does, carrying all the potential energy with it. This can be reused later, without it all being lost into the air or into some other medium that carries the dissipating waste. In all configurations of heat exchanger, heat is transferred between different mediums and a fluid- a solid surface, particulates or another fluid. In parallel flow heat exchangers, the fluid in the tube and shell side both go in the same direction. Thus they enter the heat exchanger from the same end but at wildly different temperatures. Cross flow heat exchangers are a little different. The first fluid flows through a series of tubes in one direction while the second fluid passes around the first fluid in a perpendicular motion. An exchanger can also be a single or multi-pass, depending on how often the fluids pass each other. This changes the nature of the heat transfer a little bit but it still transfers the power for reuse without letting all the heat escape. In this way, after coolers are one of the most useful things for a factory or industrial complex to have.
Conventional industry lets a lot of the energy produced during manufacturing go completely unrecycled and, therefore, completely useless. A heat exchanger changes all of that and also lasts for a very long time. With proper care, the shell in a heat exchanger will survive for decades with no corrosion or need for maintenance. The advantage is clear in both the short and long term. Companies are taking notice as well. Many are investing in this particular form of reusable energy with the whole industry being expected to reach 19 billion dollars in the next four years. The potential for growth in the industry was already huge a couple years ago and it’s just getting bigger. In 2013, the whole industry was worth about 7 billion dollars. That’s already a good start for a relatively new method of recycling. It’s the type of growth that’s hard to ignore and for good reason. As companies are forced to become more environmentally conscious, they have to balance expenditure with output. Heat exchangers and after coolers are one of the cheapest ways to do so while still staying mindful of the planet. After all, there’s no business without it.

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