ORC Prime Power in Alaska

Application: Engine Waste Heat Recovery
Power Output: 90 kWe (3 units)

ElectraTherm commissioned three Power+ Generators to produce fuel-free, emission-free electricity from diesel prime power gensets at the Dutch Harbor power plant in the remote Aleutian islands of Alaska. ElectraTherm’s Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) generators capture the waste heat from the jacket water of two Wartsila W12V32 and one CAT C280-16 at temperatures as low as 165°F to generate approximately 90 kWe gross for the site. The power generated is sent to the grid, where residential costs of power are some of the highest in North America at $.45/kW. The City of Unalaska and the Alaska Energy Authority purchased the three ORC generators to utilize an untapped, existing resource at the power plant. The City of Unalaska estimates approximately $250,000 annual fuel savings.

Based on monthly overview data, the ORC system increases efficiency between 5-8%, discrepancies due to external variables such as ambient temperature and engine uptime. The Power+ Generators also offset the radiator cooling load on the gensets significantly thanks to the cooling affect from the ORC process. Power consumption is reduced by an estimated 8,000 kWh per month, equating to 6,000 gal of fuel saved per year. The reduction of cooling loads is an additional benefit to the electricity generated for profit, equating to a “radiator with a payback.”

The installation in Unalaska is ElectraTherm’s first orc prime power application on diesel gensets, and ElectraTherm anticipates repeatable opportunities in remote locations where there are diesel reliant rural populations. At the site, hot water enters the Power+ Generators, where it heats a working fluid into pressurized vapor. As the vapor expands, it drives ElectraTherm’s patented twin screw power block, which spins an electric generator and produces power. All three ORC generators utilize one cooling loop, sea water with an input temperature of 45°F.

“I left ElectraTherm [training] with a 100% satisfaction in the product that we have received and the support that comes along with the purchase. ElectraTherm is taking a business approach that tends to have been forgotten today: quality and service first. ElectraTherm’s upfront approach, product quality, customer service and attention to detail far exceed any industry standard.”
-Matthew Scott, Electrical Engineering Technician for City of Unalaska

Read more about the application and ORC waste heat recovery technologies in our feature in POWER Magazine here.


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About ElectraTherm

ElectraTherm by BITZER Group provides world-class waste heat recovery solutions by utilizing the Organic Rankine Cycle along with proprietary technologies to convert low-temperature heat into clean power. ElectraTherm’s simple and effective solutions generate clean electricity, boost efficiency, reduce energy costs, and decrease emissions – with no additional fuel consumption. Having shipped over 100 ORC units to over 13 countries clocking over 2,000,000 hours of operations, ElectraTherm is a global leader in small-scale waste heat recovery.

The combined advantage of ElectraTherm’s engineering along with the value of being supported by BITZER, the world’s largest independent manufacturer of refrigeration compressors which boasts close to 3,500 global employees and average annual sales approaching $1 billion, allows the ElectraTherm team to continue developing industry-leading ORC technology that is good for both business and the planet.

ElectraTherm’s Power+ Generator is a heat to power solution, converting waste heat into clean electricity and usable thermal. The Active Cooler serves as a net-zero cooling to power solution, using the same ORC process to provide self-powered cooling while generating electricity. Both of ElectraTherm’s solutions reduce emissions and energy costs while providing a baseload power / cooling supply. Taking advantage of waste heat is not only profitable, but practical. Allowing companies to benefit from a more circular economy while achieving sustainability goals.

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