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Dürr’s ORC technology increases energy efficiency of biogas plants

Bietigheim-Bissingen, September 19, 2011 – Generating power from waste heat offers one of the greatest untapped potentials for sustainable energy generation in Germany. In this context, Dürr’s Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology is of particular interest. It is suitable for different waste heat temperatures and operates at lower temperatures than steam turbines. The ORC systems, which are easy to retrofit, can be used for the heat recovery from waste gas produced by biogas cogeneration (CHP) plants as well as stationary combustion engines. Even the legislator has recognized the benefits of ORC technology. From the beginning of 2012, it will be one of the heat recovery systems promoted under the revised German Renewable Energy Act (EEG).

Dürr Cyplan is a new joint venture between the mechanical and plant engineering group Dürr Systems GmbH and ORC specialist Cyplan Ltd. The aim is to develop ORC technology and offer operators of biogas plants economical solutions to increase energy efficiency. Dürr Cyplan is based at Dürr’s headquarters in Bietigheim-Bissingen. The company is integrated into the sales, engineering and services network of the Dürr Group and has access to its resources in terms of environmental technology and plant engineering.

The ORC systems, which were developed in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT (Oberhausen), are available in different sizes and can be used for various types of waste heat sources. These include not only biogas plants but also stationary combustion engines, industrial waste heat sources as well as geo and solar thermal plants. Dürr Cyplan has successfully implemented a number of pilot projects and gained positive experience. The longest-serving pilot plant was tested with more than 30,000 hours in continuous operation.

In October, Dürr Cyplan will install a demo version of the latest generation of technically optimized ORC plants, enabling anyone who is interested in this technology to watch it “live”. “Dürr Cyplan’s ORC modules offer our customers a reliable and economical option for increasing the energy efficiency of their plants”, says Jochen Fink, Managing Director at Dürr Cyplan. His colleague, Frank Eckert, points out the efficiency of ORC technology: “With an electrical efficiency of up to 20%, our systems are not only highly effective but also reliable, low-noise and stable – in other words: everything our customers expect from reliable plant engineering.”

Following a number of developments over the last few years, ORC technology is now recognized as a heat recovery technology in CHP electricity generation under the revised Renewable Energy Act (EEG 2012). The ORC systems offered by Dürr Cyplan can be retrofitted to existing biogas plants or simply integrated into new plants. Dürr Cyplan’s special high-temperature ORC modules are interesting in two ways: They not only generate electricity from waste heat but also produce energy-rich condensation heat, which can be fed into district heating networks or used to operate drying systems. This is how ORC technology contributes to the implementation of highly efficient energy concepts combining the use of heat and power.