Stainless steel finned tube heat exchanger design for waste heat recovery

  • KPM Wipplinger University of Stellenbosch
  • TM Harms University of Stellenbosch
  • AB Taylor Stellenbosch Automotive Engineering (Pty) Ltd
Keywords: stainless steel heat exchanger, high pressure, high temperature, radial finned tubes


Around the world the implementation of heat recovery systems play an increasingly important role in the engineering industry. Recovered energy is utilised in production plants (especially in the food industry) and saves companies millions in expenses per year. Waste heat recovery associated with hydrocarbon combustion in the transport industry is identified as a significantly under-utilised energy resource. The aim of this project was to investigate the recovery of waste heat in a small scale system for the purpose of electrical conversion in order to serve as a secondary energy source. A theoretical analysis concerning the design and construction of the system, utilising researched theory and a control-volume-based simulation program of the recovery system, is presented. It was found that heat exchangers for the required duty are not readily available in South Africa. A high pressure, cross flow, stainless steel finned tube heat exchanger with a water side pressure rating of 2 MPa was therefore designed and constructed. By using the exhaust gases of a continuous combustion unit as an energy source and water as the working fluid, efficiencies of up to 74% in direct steam generation testing were obtained.


Al Rabghi O.M., Bierutty M., Akyurt M., Najjar Y. and Alp T. (1993), Recovery and utilization of waste heat, A review paper, Heat Recovery Systems and CHP, Vol. 13, pp. 463-670.

Chen J.C. (1963), A correlation for boiling heat transfer to saturated fluids in convective flow, ASME paper 63-HT-34. Presented at the 6th National Heat Transfer Conference, Boston.

Forster H.K. and Zuber N. (1955), Dynamics of vapour bubbles and boiling heat transfer, AIChEJ., Vol. 1, pp. 531-535.

Friedel L. (1979), Improved friction drop correlations for horizontal and vertical two-phase flow, European Two-phase Flow Group Meeting, Ispra, Italy.

Koehler J., Tgethoff W.J., Westpalen D. and Sonnekalb M. (1997), Absorption refrigeration systems for mobile applications utilising exhaust gasses, Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 32, pp. 333-340.

Koorts T. (1998), Waste energy recovery system, Final Year B Eng Project, University of Stellenbosch, August.

Mills A.F. (1995), Heat and Mass Transfer, University of California, Los Angeles, Appendix A and Chapter 4 Figure 4.42, p. 312.

Odeh S.D., Morrison G.L. and Behnia M. (1998), Modelling of parabolic trough direct steam generation solar collectors, Solar Thermal Energy Laboratory, University of New South Wales, Solar Energy, Vol. 62, Nr. 6, pp. 395-406.

Premoli A., Frencesco D. and Prina A. (1970), An empirical correlation for evaluating two-phase mixture density under adiabatic conditions, European Two-phase Flow Group Meeting, Milan.

Van Zyl J.M., De Rouw B., Harms T.M. and Taylor, A.B. (2006), CFD investigation of an experimentally detected heat transfer phenomenon, Extended abstract accepted: SACAM06, SAAM, Cape Town.

Whalley P.B. (1987), Boiling, Condensation, and GasLiquid Flow, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Oxford, Chapters 1-6, 16, 17, 20.

Wipplinger K.P.M. (2000), Internal combustion engine practical, Thermodynamics B, Presented by the Centre for Automotive Engineering, University of Stellenbosch, December.

Wipplinger K.P.M. (2004), High pressure stainless steel fintube heat exchanger design for waste heat recovery, M Sc (Eng) thesis, University of Stellenbosch, April.
  • Abstract 33
  • PDF 9
Views and downloads are with effect from 11 January 2018