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New Uber-style platform matches supply and demand for excess heat in industry

29 June 2023
There are companies that generate excess heat, and there are those who seek heat to use in their industrial processes or even to heat their homes. And now there's a way for them to find each other.

This is an online platform called EMB3Rs - online, free and user-friendly - capable of analyzing different solutions for the use of waste heat in an integrated way and making the «match» between those who produce and those who consume.

The project is led by INEGI and brings together 16 entities from eight European countries. For about four years, the team was focused on improving the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries in Europe, using funding from the European Union of around four million euros.

As Mafalda Silva, responsible for the project at INEGI, explains, "residual heat is a byproduct resulting from production processes and is often released into the atmosphere or sent to cooling towers. But there are technologies that allow you to avoid this waste and reuse that energy”.

Let's imagine, for example, a company in the glass production sector that uses high temperature furnaces to melt raw materials and mold the glass. It can "match” itself and find out how to reuse heat in other processes in the same plant. Or you could "match” with a neighboring furniture manufacturer, who needs heat to dry the wood before processing, and thus make the most of this resource.

"Reuse is important for energy efficiency and consequent financial profitability", stresses Mafalda Silva.

Reducing waste has economic and environmental benefits

The EMB3Rs platform aims to bring together producers and consumers, and present the best solutions to recover, convert, transport and reuse excess thermal energy. It allows users to independently explore and evaluate possible solutions to monetize excess energy, reduces the time required to carry out technical and economic feasibility studies, and is the ideal resource for SMEs that typically have fewer resources to invest.

INEGI's team played an active role in the development of the platform, having been responsible for defining requirements and models for the characterization of heat recovery options and for central functionalities to the simulation.

This platform was developed within the framework of the European project of the same name: EMB3Rs - User-driven Energy-Matching & Business Prospection Tool for Industrial Excess Heat/Cold Reduction, Recovery and Redistribution. The project, funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is now in the final stretch.

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