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Energy and Environment, 1995

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Ramli Bin Osman
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


For gas-to-gas energy recovery, the use of rotary regenerator, or heat wheel, is well-established. An alternative to this type is the fixed matrix regenerator. In the fixed matrix regenerator, a key element is the design of the flow switching mechanism. This mechanism serves to switch the flow of the hot and cold fluid stream periodically into alternative heat exchange matrix section. Several manufacturers have their own proprietary design for effecting this flow-switching requirement. Another important aspect of the fixed matrix regenerator is the choice of the heat exchange matrix. Many proprietary heat exchange matrices are available, but these are generally somewhat expensive. An alternative would be the use of commonly available materials, such as the much-cheaper wire-mesh. A method for sizing the matrix based on the use of galvanized-iron wire-mesh is described. Since the design data available for this type of matrix is limited, a conservative design approach should be adopted. An experimental fixed matrix regenerator using wiremesh heat exchange matrix was built and tested. The performance in term of effectiveness was found to be favorable, but well-below that predicted by design calculations. Pressure drop, as expected, was found to be high. Economic analysis indicates that this type of regenerator offers a fairly competitive life-cycle cost.