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Start date: Jan 1, 2009, End date: Jun 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Low temperature heat recovery is often limiting the energy efficiency of industrial processes. Low temperature differences imply large exchange surfaces which are unfeasible from the economic (expensive metal are needed to withstand the presence of condensates) and technical (too large volumes for the specific application contexts) viewpoints. The present project aims at developing nanofilled-polymer-based heat exchangers enabling: i) effective heat conductivity due to the percolation network of carbon or metal fillers; ii) cost reduction compared to metal materials (stainless steel, Cu-alloys,…); iii) design flexibility for an intensive volume exploitation; iv) superior corrosion resistance; v) promotion of the highly effective drop condensation with hydrophobic polymers. Three main application areas are devised: 1. Intercoolers increasing the efficiency of large diesel engines, where heat conductive plastics can provide a cheaper alternative to Cu-alloys when seawater is used as the cooling media (e.g. large naval engines or power plants close to sea side). 2. Heat recovery systems from combustion flue gases acting below 300°C, where commercial metal-based systems loose cost-effectiveness. 3. Application in the chemical and process industries where harsh chemicals or corrosive environments have to be faced. The project is divided into three main work lines: i) development of compounds in which a range of polymers (nylon, PET,…) and fillers (carbon fibres, carbon nanotubes, metal coated nanoparticles, …) will be considered; ii) tailoring of plastic forming techniques (injection moulding, pressing, extrusion); iii) manufacturing & testing of up to two proof-of-concept heat exchangers. The partnership includes two Universities (POLITO-I, TUBAF-D), two research centres (CEA-F, PISAS-SK), three SMEs (Astrarefrigeranti-I, Nanocyl-B, Starom-RO) and two large companies (Simona-D, SGL Carbon-D) selected for their specific expertise to undertake the above challenges.
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