Generating Low-cost, Low-carbon Electricity During Steam Pressure Reduction
C2 Technology Ltd (C2T) develops innovative solutions for energy recovery, saving and storage, and renewables to help industries meet demands for a low carbon world. C2T’s main activities are in recovery of low-grade energy waste that is otherwise released into the environment.
Customer sectors include chemicals, food & beverage, manufacturing, and cement. C2T’s core innovative technologies are related to turbo machines: compressors and expanders for air, gas and steam applications, waste heat recovery applications and energy storage solutions.
Recovery of low-power energy waste, especially in steam systems, is widely overlooked by larger service operators. It’s technically more difficult and less profitable than recovery of high-power waste energy. The BEIS Industrial Heat Recovery Programme found that in 2014, 11 TWh of industrial heat could technically have been recovered, but only 5 TWh of this would have been viable due to the preponderance of low-power sources.
There is now critical impetus to recovery this energy due to the imperatives of rising energy costs, energy resilience / security requirements, and climate change. Industries are now looking again at low-power waste energy within their processes, but finding that current recovery systems are still uneconomic, as high capital costs give unacceptably long pay-back times.
C2T is addressing this challenge by developing the MECS system, a novel modular design concept combined with innovative low-cost gas bearings to create a low cost system for converting waste energy from steam and gas pressure let-down systems into electricity. The company has been awarded an Innovate UK Smart grant to build a 20kWe system, prove the system’s cost & performance to TRL6, and demonstrate the payback period within an industrial environment. This environment is being provided by a major food processing company and will enable stakeholders to evaluate a working system, leading to subsequent demonstration sites and further fund raising.
Qi3 undertook the market assessment work package in the project. Its research addressed key questions on: market sectors, size & shape of the addressable markets, adoption dynamics and barriers to adoption; customer types, value proposition, channels to market; competitive environment and C2T’s competitive advantage; and potential first customers.
Following extensive research and discussions with Key Opinion Leaders, Qi3 presented a market framework and a series of deep insights to guide both the project and C2T’s strategic development. Strategy options and recommendations on the value proposition, user needs, market adoption and commercialisation strategy were evaluated as part of the final workshop in the project, and the conclusions incorporated into C2T’s long-term plans.
“Many technologies are being promoted for energy recovery in process plants, resulting in a highly complex direct and indirect competitive environment. Qi3 quickly understood where C2 Technology brings real user advantages and where its Value Proposition is compelling. The market insights have given us a rigorous framework to bring our systems to market and a clear strategy to exploit them. We are very happy to recommend Qi3 to other companies wishing to understand the real market opportunities for their new product development programmes.