Energy conservation by a recuperative heat network in heat treatment facilities

  Heat treating furnace Copyright: © WSA Heat treating furnace

Intensive energy user need innovative solutions in terms of conserving energy to meet new political regulations, because of the protection against climate change and the conservation of natural resources, and to save costs. Especially, hardening plants waste energy through ovens, oil baths etc., which heat is released into the factory building and into the atmosphere. Industrial furnaces are used for heat treatment, hot forming or within smithies, whereby the process temperatures can exceed 1000°C and the heat loss into the environment can reach up to 80%. At least this loss is a significant cost factor to the firms.

Usually, a single energy conservation system is used at each oven, whereby the waste heat is caught by an air hood to transfer it to a centralized heat exchanger. The maximum energy conservation rate is thereby technical limited to about 20%.

The aim of the research project is the development and testing of a new method to recover heat at industrial furnaces, which will increase the efficiency of the energy utilization and will reduce the costs for the actual heating. This development shall be executed for heat treatment facilities and especially for hardening plants with its different ovens, dryer and washing machines. In comparison to single solutions, in this project a recuperative heat network shall be developed and tested.

The WSA is responsible to provide the theoretical background and to determine the heat output and specifications. In company with the project partners, a thermal technical tool will be developed supporting the design of such networks.


Project details


  • Christopher Steins

Project duration

02/2013 – 02/2015

Funded by

Central Innovation Program for SMEs by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology


  • L-U-F-T GmbH
  • HSH GmbH
  • Noxmat GmbH


  • Long term temperature measuring
  • Gas analysis
  • Matlab-based analytics