September 2020 – Preol explores the potential for waste heat recovery in the Czech Republic

PREOL, a.s. was founded in 2003 and produces biofuels and vegetable oil with currently 146 employees. In the company – located in an industrial chemical estate between Prague and Dresden – 550,000 tons of rapeseed are processed annually into vegetable oil for the food industry, rapeseed oil methyl ester (so-called rapeseed diesel), glycerin and rapeseed meal as animal feed.

Energy Scout and engineer Jan Bílek worked on two aspects in his practical project. The first is using the waste heat from the condensate of a heat exchanger. He wants to replace the steam heat exchanger with a plate heat exchanger to enable the use of waste heat from condensate with a newly constructed condensate conduit. The thermal energy of the condensate can be used for heating and hot water in the future. By doing so, 405 MWh less heating capacity from pulverized lignite will be required each year and CO2 emissions will be reduced by 150 tons. Preol also benefits financially – annual savings of € 52,617 offset the initial investments after just 1.4 years. The project is planned to be implemented in 2021.

How can the waste heat be used and CCS technologies applied?
In the second approach, the Energy Scout examined the potential of capturing and storing CO2 from combustion products in Preol’s own combined heat and power plant. He showed how climate neutrality could be achieved in the case of his company, as envisioned in the European Green Deal by 2050. He analyzed three methods for dealing with the captured CO2. Up to date, CCS (carbon capture and storage) seems to be the most applicable. However, the implementation would result in additional costs of around € 100 per ton of CO2 and is therefore not viable under the given economic conditions. “This technology has great future potential for the ecological use of fossil fuels. However, it is currently too expensive and energy-intensive” says Energy Scout Jan Bílek.

The jury honored the visionary project with 1st place in the 2020 Czech Energy Scouts competition.

Heat Recovery

Process Optimization

  • Industry sector: Chemical industry
  • Energy source: Pulverized lignite
  • Energy saving potential: 405 MWh/a
  • CO2 saving potential: 147 t/a
  • Potential cost reduction: 52,617 €/a
  • Investment costs: 72,833 €
  • Payback period: 1.4 years
Winner Jan Bílek (center) from Preol a.s. with René Harun, AHK Czech Republic and Janine Hansen, Young Energy Europe (© AHK Czech Republic)
Jan Bílek presents his project (© AHK Czech Republic)
Many processes in the company require heat exchangers like these. (© Preol)
The process parameters of the heat exchanger can be continuously checked via the displays. (© Preol)
The condensate collector outside the factory building. (© Preol)