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Technology, Products & Services

Using a Heliex Power steam expander in an industrial steam system

The vast majority of industrial steam systems use saturated steam to provide heat for a production process.

These systems generally operate at a higher pressure than required for the process and use a Pressure Reduction Valve (PRV) to let down the pressure to what is required by the downstream process. 

The Heliex system is integrated alongside the alongside the PRV, where it takes all or a proportion of the available steam flow and reduces the steam pressure just like the PRV does. 

Where it differs, is that along with providing steam at the same lower pressure, it also generates rotating power, which can be used to generate electricity, compressed air, drive a piece of equipment or re-energise steam.

This activity requires a slight increase to the system heat input and steam flow to the expander so that the downstream heat requirements for the process is also maintained. 

The Heliex steam expander doesn't require super-heated steam, making it well suited for typical industrial steam systems.

A simple, plug and play installation, it comes with a small footprint and doesn't affect the operation of any downstream production processes. 

Located in parallel with the PRV, it can be taken off-line for maintenance without the needs to shut down the production process. 

 The Steam Screw Expander 

At the core of any Heliex machine is the steam screw expander. This patented derivative of the ubiquitous screw compressor is driven by wet steam and generates electricity in a standard industrial alternator.

Unlike with other technologies, far from damaging the machine, water in the steam assists in lubricating and sealing the robust twin rotor design.

The technology is offered in a range of outputs (75 kWe - 630 kWe) and has been applied in a wide variety of industries including steel  glass, biomass, chemicals, textiles and healthcare. 

Applicable with steam pressures of up to 25 Bar g and flow-rates in excess of 3 tonnes per hour, the machine is extremely flexible, following fluctuating flow rates, while maintaining the downstream pressure required for the subsequent production process. 

Return on investment varies dependent on machine size and site economics but it's usually attractive and below the industry norm, with the added benefit of increased sustainability and carbon savings.