Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 18:42 EDT

ULVAC-RIKO Achieves Breakthrough in Renewable Energy, Generating 3kw of Electricity using 90 Degrees C Hot Water

June 1, 2011

Tokyo, June 1, 2011 – (JCN Newswire) – Ulvac-RIKO is proud to announce a new breakthrough in renewable energy research . efficiently converting hot water of 90 degrees C into 3 kilowatts (100 V, 30 A) of electricity using a (patented) compact and portable power generation system.

With the world facing global warming and an ever reducing supply of oil resources, there is a clear and present need for new technology research in renewable energy. Furthermore, in light of the recent great east Japan earthquake, the shutdown of thermal and nuclear based power plants has created brand new demands not only for energy efficient technologies, but also for the immediate utilization of brand new, yet untapped alternative sources of energy. Once such source, underutilized but in abundance, is low temperature heat source below 150 degrees C, which commonly exists in the form of waste heat from factories, solar heat, or hot springs. Modern attempts to utilize such heat sources are limited in scale to the 50+ kilowatt range, and only to sites able to meet restrictive requirements such as high volume heat, large space, expensive upfront costs.

Abstract of Results

ULVA-RIKO has developed a breakthrough small scale solution to generate 3-12 kilowatts of power from low temperature heat sources below 150 degrees C. This one-of-a-kind system is small enough to fit into a small truck, and its low noise operation makes it the ideal solution to be used at sites previously able to meet the high requirements posed by existing solutions. The power output of this solution, between 3 to 12 kilowatts, is well capable of meeting the power demands of 5 to 20 average households. By directly converting heat energy into electric energy, this breakthrough technology is aiming to be an integral part of future power demands in our society.

This development project consists of two components, the construction of the Rankine cycle(1) based portable power generator system, and the power generation tests using hot and cooling water. In the example shown, using hot water of 91 degrees C with a flow rate of 43 L/min, at temperature difference of 69 degrees C, the system was able to generate 3.8kW of power output, at a high energy regeneration efficiency of 7.2%(2).

At the heart of the power generator system is the one of a kind, eccentric orbiting scroll expander generator (Ecoscroll Expander)(3)(4), developed using our proprietary technology. The Ecoscoll Expander is compact, highly efficient with quiet operation, which makes it the ideal solution not only for our power generator system, but also HEV, EV car electric compressor, fuel cell air blowers(5), vacuum pumps, and many other purposes.

Parts of this project were made possible by the 2009 and 2010 Local Innovation Research and Development Commission of Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, Richstone Inc., and the joint research efforts with The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.


- Generate electricity from hot water at temperatures of 75-100 degrees C.
- Light and portable. Can be transported by a light truck and deployed with virtually noconstruction cost.
- Compact size and quiet operation. Can be deployed at sites previous unsuitable for big and noisy machines.
- Scalable depending on heat source to generate a maximum of 12 kW.

Application of low temperature heat source

- Factory waste heat
- Automobiles, ships
- Steam
- Fuel cell
- Hot springs
- Solar heat and others…

Utility: Case of compact and portable power generation system between 3 to 6 kW

- Body size: W1100 mm x D800 mm x H1400 mm
- Body weight: About 200 kg

Future Plans

Having realized the viability of its target performance, the system will be field tested for durability, and will be commercially available thereafter.

Electric power examination test result of compact and portable power generation system:

                               Max. value of actual performance
Volume efficiency                              98 %
Total adiabatic efficiency                     71 %
Energy regeneration efficiency                7.2 %
Power output                                 3.8 kW

(1) Rankine cycle: One process transferring heat energy into mechanical energy by using working medium existing in both liquid and gas phases. Ex.) thermal and nuclear based power plants
(2) Energy regeneration efficiency: Ratio of the efficiency power to the input energy.
(3) Scroll expander: Composition of a pair of the same spiral pattern, one pattern is fixed and the other is made oscillating movement. Increasing expansion room volume, the gas volume is expanded.
(4) ECO scroll expander: Scroll expander by ECcentric Orbiting method [ECcentric Orbiting scroll expander].
(5) Air blower: Discharge machine of middle pressure between pressure fan and compressor.


ULVAC (Ultimate in Vacuum), Inc. (TSE: 6728) has been a leader in vacuum technology industry since its establishment in 1952. The company has always provided lines of equipment and production systems that form the core of state-of-art production processes in the areas of flat panel display, solar cell, semiconductor and electronics. The company has not only provided equipment but also materials, analysis, evaluation and other services, which are integrated into ULVAC Solutions. For more information, please visit www.ulvac.co.jp.

Source: ULVAC


S. Endo
Research & Development Dept.
Tel: +81-45-931-2285
Fax: +81-45-933-9973

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