Re-Use Heat from Wasted Energy

oil refinery installation

Why this challenge?

PKN Orlen is the major Polish oil refiner and petrol retailer.

PKN ORLEN believes that conserving energy is an absolute necessity for all industries: it is no longer economically viable for manufacturing or processing plants to emit heat-laden exhaust into the atmosphere without first reclaiming a significant portion of that energy.

PKN ORLEN has made optimal use of the high-grade waste heat sources in their refinery in Plock (Poland) to preheat combustion air, crude oil, and boiler feed water.

However, the heat lost through the air coolers at the top of the K1 atmospheric crude distillation column still needs a solution. Pinch analysis has shown that with conventional technology, no economic use of this low-grade heat (e.g. for further preheating the crude oil by heat from the process streams) is achievable within the refinery.

This calls for a novel means to usefully capture a portion of this heat is required.

In the “Waste Heat Recovery” Contest, PKN ORLEN sought submissions for waste heat recovery technologies that could operate with low-grade heat of about 115 to 120°C, and this, to specifically address the heat lost from the top of the K1 distillation column.


The winners each received prizes of €10,000 and were invited to discuss further cooperation with PKN ORLEN. Winners are Guha Industries from Canada/India, ILK Dresden from Germany and Promont from Poland.

“The level of interest in the contest shown by innovators from all over the world as well as the high quality of the proposed solutions went beyond our expectations and confirmed that crowdsourcing is an effective tool to quickly obtain innovations.”

Wojciech Jasiński, President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN


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