Converting waste heat to low-grade energy.
JNE was engaged by a large ethanol producer and leader in high purity specialty alcohols to provide piping, electrical, and structural engineering support for an ambitious initiative that would see a greenhouse function off the waste heat from the client’s operations, with the conversion process being powered by thermal energy.
The plan for generating low-grade energy was to extract the available heat from the existing DDGS (distillers dried grain with solubles) dryer exhaust stream utilizing a direct contact spray condenser and recirculating water loop through a set of heat exchangers, creating a heat source suitable for use by the greenhouse.
JNE provided multi-discipline engineering services to the project, including civil/structural, electrical, and piping. Civil/structural services included equipment foundations for cooling tower, condenser, blower, and pumps; motor control centre (MCC) building extension; access platform for condenser; and existing steel reinforcement for additional piping and pipe supports. Electrical services included a single line diagram for new 600v MCC, equipment specifications for 4160v switchgear, 1500kva transformer and 600v MCC, instrument loop diagrams, cable tray layouts, heat tracing, and power to new process equipment. Piping services include piping design, layout, and stress analysis for new cooling water and process piping.
Various changes to equipment and piping design posed a challenge to the efficiency of the overall project completion. JNE was required to work and co-ordinate with equipment and piping design from an external supplier, separately engaged by the client. The design and layout of equipment including piping from the supplier changed as the project progressed, prompting the need for JNE to constantly adapt the project execution to accommodate the ongoing adjustments.
JNE implemented a cost-savings to the client by reinforcing the existing structures to increase load capacity resulting from new process, rather than building new structures. Through an assessment of the existing cable tray, JNE determined the space was structurally capable of handling the additional loads required for the new project.
This project demonstrates JNE’s flexibility and ability to work closely with both the OEM and Client to design and install equipment, despite various changes to the equipment supplier’s designs.