CONTEST #4190170

PKN Orlen Waste Heat Contest Banner: Fueling Innovation



PKN ORLEN: Waste Heat Recovery from the Top of a Crude Oil Distillation Column


Conserving energy is an absolute necessity for all industries. It is no longer economically viable for manufacturing or processing plants to emit heat-laden exhaust into the atmosphere without first reclaiming a significant portion of that energy.


PKN ORLEN has made optimal use of the high-grade waste heat sources in their refinery in Plock (Poland) to preheat combustion air, crude oil, and boiler feed water. However, the heat lost through the air coolers at the top of the K1 atmospheric crude distillation column still needs a solution. Pinch analysis has shown that with conventional technology no economic use of this low-grade heat (e.g. for further preheating the crude oil by heat from the process streams) is achievable within the refinery. A novel means to usefully capture a portion of this heat is required.



NineSigma, representing PKN ORLEN, seeks submissions for waste heat recovery technologies that can operate with low-grade heat of about 115 to 120°C. The successful solution will address specifically the heat lost from the top of the K1 distillation column located in Orlen’s Plock refinery (Poland). For a full explanation of the contest, and to see a detailed description of the system, please view the Contest Summary Document.



Total opportunity for this Challenge consists of up to €30,000 in cash plus a possible supplier contract for up to seven installations. Successful proposals may also have the opportunity to negotiate a R&D grant to further develop their technology. Furthermore, there could be the opportunity to market and demonstrate successful pilots together with PKN ORLEN.



PKN Orlen Waste Heat Contest Timeline: Contest opens October 1, 2015; Submissions close December 9, 2015.




Proposed approaches for energy recovery from the waste heat stream should be compelling in terms of performance and economics. They should also take into account the physical and operational constraints described in the Contest Summary Document. PKN ORLEN is open to new approaches and these can use the available heat for example to produce electricity, to provide direct drive to compressors, or to convert into chemical products. 



Participants must complete the proposal and submit by December 9, 2015. The proposal submission will serve as the official entry in this Challenge. The submission should contain a non-confidential introduction to the respondent’s handling concept, background and expertise.


Finalists will be selected by February 29, 2016, and be invited for in depth evaluation Finals in March, 2016. Remote conferencing facilities will be used for these Finals. Award winners will be announced by March 31, 2016.




Jos Cenens - NineSigma 


Jos Cenens
Engagement Manager,

NineSigma Europe


Welcome to our Innovation Contest! Please read through the materials provided. We look forward to innovating with you!




Krystian Pater - PKN Orlen

Krystian Pater
Member of the Management Board, Production



Jacek Smyzcynski

Jacek Smyczynski
Director, Technical Lead 



New challenges of the modern world require innovative approaches. Join us and help make our refinery more energy efficient!



By submitting a response, respondents agree to Terms and Conditions and all of the following submission requirements, including confidentiality, selection, and the review processes:


Respondents agree to the submission terms described in the response form.



Respondents confirm that their submissions do not contain any confidential information.


Selection / Review Process

Respondents acknowledge that PKN ORLEN reserves the sole and absolute right and discretion to award prizes as stated in the challenge, including awarding three respondents. The entry evaluation and award determination will be made by an internal PKN ORLEN team.


See Terms and Conditions for details. Challenge opens on October 1, 2015. Must submit at least one entry by December 9, 2015 to be eligible.

Presented photographs, documents and diagrams are the intellectual property of PKN ORLEN S.A., unless otherwise registered, and they may not be used or reproduced, without PKN ORLEN S.A. permission, for any other purpose than to participate in the competition.