Who can deliver heat power?
Delivering heat power requires a combination of companies working together:
- Those who build the technology to harness heat power
- Support services, like the heavy equipment to drill and the high-tech equipment to perform underground maps
- The providers who own, develop and operate heat power installations
Heat power technology companies
Most of the heat power in the world comes from geothermal heat sources - 75% in fact. And usually this power comes from large plants. The rest comes from waste heat recovery, biomass and solar thermal. Here are just a few of the companies who are building the technology for these applications.
Bosch has a thermotechnology division that supplies boilers, heat pumps and waste heat recovery systems.
Calnetix, a subsidiary of GE, produces electrical equipment. Part of their portfolio includes ORC units for ships. A highly reputable player, they have delivered some 400 units globally.
Climeon’s modular units are designed to harness heat between 70-120 degrees Celsius and can be combined to create medium-sized power plants. Their units are currently used to harness waste heat in on ships, and in the heavy industry, as well as to harness geothermal heat.
Devetec produces ORC units that typically use ethanol as the working fluid. Instead of a turbine, Devetec uses reliable piston engines. Devetec is a young, expanding company that addresses waste heat between 150-300 degrees Celsius.
ElectraTherm develops ORC units that typically harness waste heat at 100 degrees Celsius. According to their website, they currently have 50 global installation sites across nine different waste heat to power applications.
E-RATIONAL ORC units focus on two temperature ranges. The low-temperature ORCs convert waste heat between 85°C - 105 °C while high-temperature machines valorize heat from 105 °C - 150 °C.
Opcon Energy System, was acquired by the Chinese Fund Shanghai XingXueKang Investment Partnership in 2015. OES specializes in developing technology for the small-scale production of electricity from waste heat.
Orcan is a spin-off from Munich University. They employ about 60 people and build smaller, elegantly designed power plants.
Ormat Technologies is the heat power market leader with approx. 65% market share. Also a pioneer, since its founding in 1965 Ormat has installed numerous geothermal and recovered energy (REG) power plants in more than 75 countries.
Turboden, one of the pioneers in the field, is now part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Turboden has built more than 300 power plants that use biomass combustion or geothermal heat as input.
Triogen is a Dutch ORC manufacturer and supplier whose ORC technology converts waste heat into green energy.
Zuccato Energia became known as a systems integrator but for several years now has also been building ORC systems, with 24 currently deployed in 5 countries.
Equipment and support services
There are a number of support services required before heat power can be installed – particularly when it comes to geothermal. But even waste heat recovery installations can be tricky – especially onboard ships in marine applications where space is limited.
Baker Hughes, an oil and gas company that’s now part of General Electric (BHGE) supports geothermal development with drilling services and components.
We haven’t said much about solar thermal, which is used in HVAC systems and to heat swimming pools, there are a number of companies like Grammer Solar, which has been successfully producing this technology for other applications like for industrial drying. Grammer Solar claims they save 9.5 million liters of heating oil annually through their installations in 43 countries.
To identify heat power resources before drilling takes place, Leapfrog Works offers 3D subsurface modeling software that eliminates risky exploratory drilling.
Heat power providers
There is a long list of heat power providers, from large international conglomerates to regional players and innovative up-and-comers. Check out this list of the ten largest geothermal plants in the word. And here are some of the biggest companies behind them.
In addition to being a leader in geothermal technology, Ormat, mentioned above, also owns and operates heat power plants.
According to its website, Calpine Corporation headquartered in Houston, Texas, is “America’s largest generator of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources.”
Chevron, the 14th largest oil company in the world, also has diversified interests in solar, wind, heat power and other renewable energy sources. Up until their recent divestment of their geothermal projects in Indonesia and the Philippines to Ayala and AC Energy Holdings, Chevron was the world’s largest producer of geothermal energy. Today they maintain only a small plant in California.
Renewable energy company Innergex operates hydroelectric facilities, wind and solar farms, as well as geothermal heat power plants.
In Japan, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical is ramping up its geothermal efforts and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which claims to be “the only company in the world that designs and manufactures an entire waste heat recovery system” has installed numerous systems in China and Singapore.
Iceland’s Reykjavik Energy (Orkuveitu Reykjavíkur) is owner of the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, and one of the world’s top geothermal producers.