Seawater heat recovery by the utilisation of phase change heat of freezing

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
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Nordic Master Programme in Innovative and Sustainable Energy Engineering (ISEE)
With the Paris agreement calling to limit global warming to 2°C below pre-industrial levels, with further efforts to ensure it stays below 1.5°C, the Finnish government passed the Laki hiilen energiakäytön kieltämisestä (416/2019), i.e., Act of Prohibition of Coal Energy, which stipulates that the use of coal as a fuel for heat/electricity production to be banned from 1 May 2029. This affects Helsinki’s energy industry and a key concern to this work is the Salmisaari Combined Heat and Power plant, which is set to be decommissioned. This plant currently generates heat and electricity by using wood pellets and coal to cater to around 25-45% of the District Heating consumption of the city of Helsinki. To compensate for this decommissioning, there arises a need for more heat production, around 300-500MW of capacity. One alternative is the heat recovery of seawater by utilising the phase change heat of freezing. The present project investigates a technical feasibility study of a system to generate ice slurry, which is then used to extract heat from seawater at ~0°C via a heat pump. The competitiveness of an ice-slurry based system to state-of-the-art water or ice-based storage is analysed as well. The proposed system is then modelled in Aspen Plus, and the pressure drop characteristics of the generated ice slurry are studied. Finally, a sensitivity analysis of the pressure ratio of the compressor on the performance of the system is studied. Based on prior works, level of commercialisation and technical feasibility, it was found that a vacuum ice generation method, in combination with heat pumps, is a viable solution to cater to the district heating demand of the city. Further, it is concluded that the pressure drop occurring during transport of the ice slurry is quite minimal – less than 0.5% of the total power consumed whilst producing 300MW of district heat. The COP of the system varies between 2.6-2.8 depending on the pressure ratio of the compressor and thus is energy efficient. Overall, the proposed solution seems to be promising and with further socio-techno-economic analysis, this could be the potential alternative to bridge the deficit.
Santasalo-Aarnio, Annukka
Thesis advisor
Seppälä, Ari
Nummelin, Jaakko
district heating, seawater, ice slurry, Aspen Plus, pressure drop
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