Low Grade Heat Recovery Technologies

Request Number REQ5344774
Due Date June 16, 2017
Request for Proposal Details
RFP Title
Low Grade Heat Recovery Technologies
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a Fortune 500 global energy and chemical manufacturer, invites proposals for innovative technologies capable of recovering and re-purposing low grade heat waste generated by their crude oil refinery and petrochemical operations.


Oil refining and petrochemical production can involve a variety of processes occurring at both medium (150°C to 650°C) and high (greater than 650°C) temperatures, making them suitable for a variety of commercially available waste heat recovery technologies. 


Conversely, there are other industrial processes that take place at lower temperatures (between 70°C and 150°C). It is for these processes that NineSigma’s client is seeking novel, scalable waste heat reclamation technologies.




The flowchart shows the theoretical locations for low-grade waste heat recovery technologies.


Currently, the overhead towers and columns responsible for the various processing streams are cooled by either air fans or chilled water pipe jacketing and the heat energy is lost. Some estimates suggest that as much as 30% of energy input is used for cooling of these areas. 


Depending on the production process, the temperature drop can range from as little 35°C to as much as 135°C.


Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan
Phase 0 – Identification of potential supply partners

  • NineSigma’s client will select one or more of the proposed technologies for further internal review
  • To be completed by Q3 2017

Phase 1 – Industrial Evaluation

  • NineSigma’s client will, according to internal maintenance schedules, pilot one or more of the technologies in their facility to evaluate the technology for both economic and technological performance
  • Technologies evaluated over a 1-2 year period of real-world usage

Phase 2 – Full scale implementation

  • Multiple installations of the successful technology, to be completed over a period of several years


While NineSigma’s client is primarily interested in establishing a supply agreement with a suitable technology partner, there is potential for alternate business relationships, depending on the nature and maturity of the technology proposed.


Additionally, NineSigma’s client prefers approaches that are either commercially available or nearly so but will consider technologies that require limited development time to achieve the desired performance.


Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

  • Successfully and efficiently recover low grade waste heat from processes that have their own target operating temperatures, pressures and flow rates:
    • Initial operating temperatures: 70°C to 180°C 
    • Cooled operating temperatures: 30°C to 50°C
    • Operating pressures: near atmospheric pressure (e.g. 0.3 kg/cm2g) to 200 kg/cm2
    • Process flow rates: several hundreds of kilo-liter/hr
  • Integrate with existing plant infrastructure: 
    • Depending on size constraints with the site space, fit into spaces as small as a standard office desk to as large as mid-sized house 
  • Operate reliably with minimal maintenance during 3 to 4 year plant operating cycle
    • Minimal maintenance without a plant shut-down
  • Be safe, designed to global engineering safety standards


Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Conversion of waste heat to one or more of the following:
    • Electricity
    • Medium pressure steam
    • High pressure steam
  • Technologies that provide fuel savings



Approaches not of interest

The following approaches are not of interest unless significant breakthroughs have occurred to provide improved reliability and cost:

  • Power Recovery Turbine (PRT) to generate electricity
  • Discharge Thermal Energy Conversion (DTEC) to generate electricity
  • Mechanical Vapor Recompression (MVR) to generate higher pressure steam from low pressure steam



Preferred Collaboration types
  • Supply Agreement
Items to be submitted

To respond, please make sure you are registered in NineSights, as it will prompt you to log in. Then, use the Response options at the top or bottom of the page. You may submit supplemental files in addition to your completed response form.


Appropriate responses will use the response form and address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology and working principle
  • Availability of technical data including required proximity to heat source, system recovery efficiency, scalability and maintenance cycle
  • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, reduced to practice, prototype, ready to commercialize, ready to implement, commercialized)
  • Pathway to commercial scale including timing, estimated budget, and capacity for manufacture
  • Estimated unit cost of technology (as capital equipment expense and as operating expense)
  • Position on intellectual property including patent references
  • Desired relationship with sponsor
  • Team description and related experience


Other Request information includes:



Responses from companies (small to large), academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome. For example:


You represent a company or university that has reduced method to practice at lab scale.

You represent a company or university that has developed a method for use at pilot scale.

You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a method ready for implementation at industrial scale.

You represent a university research department that has a bench-scale demonstration ready to adapt.

You represent a university research department that has an undeveloped pathway with a high probability of success.



Area of Interest
Request Priority
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