In the brickworks of Wienerberger Österreich GmbH in Uttendorf, the first DryFiciency heat pump with a closed refrigeration cycle is now being used to convert industrial waste heat into usable energy. In the manufacturing process, bricks are first formed, dried and then fired. This process takes place in a continuous tunnel dryer, where the high-temperature heat pump has now been integrated. It uses hot water from the heat recovery of the dryer's exhaust air as a source and provides heat for the tunnel dryer. "Heat pumps are a real alternative to conventional gas burners for many drying processes," explains Veronika Wilk, scientific coordinator of the DryFiciency project and Senior Research Engineer at the Center for Energy of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. Compared to conventional gas boilers, heat pumps have the potential to increase energy efficiency by up to 80 percent, reduce CO2 emissions by up to 75 percent and also cause up to 20 percent less production costs. "The technologies we have developed can be used in many industrial sectors, from paper, food and beverages to textiles and other chemical industries, and they can be integrated into existing plants," concludes Wilk.
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