Background: Seventy percent of the nation's energy is rejected to the atmosphere as waste heat. Waste heat power generators convert this energy to electricity. Some high temperature systems utilize the waste heat for power generation and in Hawaii ocean temperature energy is being converted to electricity for research.
Goal: The purpose of the waste heat power generation lab at Oregon Tech is to demonstrate and perform applied research on low temperature waste heat recovery systems.
Outcomes: A KW low temperature waste heat engine has been constructed in Cornett lab that uses 140 degree hot water as an energy source. Experimental results have shown the need for additional research to be done on the expansion engine and pumping components of the system. Recently, Dr. Chris Schilling of Saginaw Valley State University has asked Oregon Tech to develop a low temperature system for industry. His research is being funded by watershed management agencies that fine commercial sugar beet plants for dumping hot water into lakes. His other interests are for burning bio-mass to drive a binary engine to produce electricity. The binary cycle design for this system will test a Tesla turbine as the expansion engine to try to overcome the high cost of the expansion engines. Two other waste heat recovery systems exist for the lab, a Sun 30 KW turbine and Avistas 30 KW Micro-Turbine.