The University of Newcastle, Australia

Granex Heat Engine for Waste Heat to Power Applications

Our project aims at advancing the implementation of the GRANEX heat engine to power applications on board ships and submarines and in forward operating bases and field hospitals.

Developed by the University of Newcastle, GRANEX is fully commercialised and can be employed to convert waste heat—such as the exhaust heat from gas turbines, diesel engines and stationary diesel gensets—into emission-free electricity.

Competitive advantage

  • Minimum exergy losses due to the use of a supercritical organic working fluid (note: supercritical fluids do not go through isothermal phase change during heat addition)
  • Superior thermal efficiency over conventional heat engines (typically by as much as 15 to 20 per cent) due to low exergy losses in conjunction with the Organic Rankine Cycle architecture
  • Compact design due to high density of the supercritical organic working fluid
  • Minimises greenhouse gas emissions

Successful applications of research

  • Implementation of GRAN EX-type heat engines into Australian Defence Force power assets
  • Efficiency gains of at least 10 per cent when a GRAN EX system is fitted to Australian Defence Force diesel engines (e.g. on board ships and submarines)
  • Efficiency gains of at least 20 per cent when a GRAN EX system is fitted to Australian Defence Force gas turbines (e.g. on board ships and tanks)

Partners

  • Granite Power Limited (GPL)

Impact

  • Implementation of the GRANEX technology on the Australian Defence Force power assets (e.g. gas turbines/ diesel engines on board ships, submarines and tanks or stationary diesel genset in forward operating bases and field hospitals) will significantly improve fuel efficiency and, in turn, increase the operational range of assets such as ships, submarines and tanks while minimising the logistical issues associated with the fuel supply to forward operating bases and field hospitals

Capabilities and facilities

  • Supercritical fluid characterisation laboratory
  • One kilowatt Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbine
  • Ten kilowatt GRAN EX pilot plant
  • Thirty kilowatt electrical and 170 kilowatt thermal Solar-GRAN EX co-generation plant (located at Wallsend pool, Newcastle)

Further reading on: Energy Generation and Storage