For Mahindra’s automobile manufacturing facility in Chakan-Pune, Thermax has provided an innovative solar energy-cum-waste heat recovery based solution that will drastically reduce the use of fossil fuel and carbon-dioxide emissions.
The combined heating and cooling system integrates 70 solar dishes and an array of equipment-waste heat recovery units, vapour absorption chillers and heat pump, heat exchanger and hot water generator.
A unique first for any automobile plant, the system will help Mahindra save 1476 tons of fossil fuel (LPG) and 184 MW/hr of electrical energy annually at its paint booth.
The project took nearly two years from concept to commissioning and involved Thermax’s solar, cooling and waste heat recovery expertise.
The auto major’s requirements of cold water at 7°C and hot water at 105°C for different processes at two of its paint shops and a keenness to make them available through a green energy option spurred the project.
Whenever solar energy is not available, Thermax’s chillers can operate on LPG and natural gas.
Thermax supplied the entire system components including the solar dishes and integrated them. The project makes use of the twin application of vapour absorption technology and also makes optimum use of solar energy.
When heat from the solar dishes is not enough at evenings and during off-season to activates the chiller, their low grade heat is made use of for vapourizing the LPG used at the plant. This in turn saves energy cost in the electrical heating conventionally used for this job.