Heliex Power goes back to the future to launch three new steam-driven power systems

Chris Armitage.
Chris Armitage

East Kilbride-based Heliex Power has launched three new products to help a variety of industries maximise their energy efficiency by building on its existing unique steam technology.

 The company, working with City University of London, was the first to discover a way of harnessing “wet” steam – a commonplace, yet frequently untapped, energy source. Together they created the steam expander, Heliex’s core technology which harnesses the energy from standard industrial steam to generate mechanical power.

Heliex’s first use of the expander was in the Heliex GenSet, launched in 2013, which is used to drive a standard industrial generator, allowing businesses to produce electricity from the wet steam created in many of their processes.

The company has now extended the use of the expander to drive a range of rotating equipment, such as pumps and blowers, with its Heliex SteamDrive. The expander can drive machinery more efficiently and cost effectively than an electrical motor.

The company’s second new technology, the Heliex AirComp, uses a Heliex steam expander system to drive high-efficiency compressors, providing air. This is up to 18% more efficient than using an electrical motor, delivering savings of more than  £80,000 per year for a standard 100kW machine. Compressed air is employed in a variety of industrial applications, such as the running of control systems, cooling equipment, and drive components.

The company’s third new technology, Heliex SteamComp, uses the original steam expander system in reverse. It allows plant operators to re-energise steam which has already been through a process, instead of having to condense and evaporate it again – an energy-intensive process. The technology is already being deployed by a packaging manufacturer on its production lines and has potential applications in industries such as pulp and paper, tyres, food processing, and chemicals.

Chris Armitage, Chief Executive, Heliex Power, said: “The launch of these three new products demonstrates the level of commitment we have to innovation and R&D, as well as developing Heliex as a company. Steam is often seen as a technology consigned to the Victorian era, but it still has huge potential and enormous benefits to offer modern industry and society.

“AirComp, SteamDrive, and SteamComp complement our existing technology, which remains a unique proposition for businesses looking to generate electricity from their wet steam. They will also open up new opportunities for us – compressed air, for example, is even more plentiful on industrial sites than steam, making the potential market very large for that system alone.”

Heliex first began selling its GenSet systems in 2014. With more than 100,000 operating hours, the technology has become standard in several industries across the UK and Europe, spanning sectors as diverse as agriculture, distilling, steel manufacturing, glass production, and waste incineration.

Demand for its new technologies is high, which will help Heliex move towards to the next phase in its evolution.

Armitage added: “The benefits offered by all of our technologies speak for themselves: cost savings, reduced energy consumption, and enhanced sustainability. We expect to see strong appetite from the industrial sector, both in the UK and further afield, and a wide variety of potential applications. The months ahead will be another exciting period for Heliex as we explore opportunities in new territories and industries, with huge potential across the globe.”

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