November 2, 2021

Technology Developed for Heat Transfer Tube Capable of Heat Recovery with Highest Ever Efficiency
– Significant Contribution Expected Toward the Realization of a Sustainable Society by Carbon Neutrality –

Mitsubishi Materials Corporation has collaborated with a study group led by Associate Professor Koji Enoki at the University of Electro-Communications Graduate School of Informatics and Engineering and discovered that filling an aluminum fiber sintered body (fiber stem made of aluminum) in a heat transfer tube (tube used for heat exchange) makes heat recovery from fluids possible with unprecedentedly high efficiency.

In Japan, the amount of exhaust heat energy under 200°C that is disposed of into the atmosphere without being used is said to be equivalent to approximately 2.4% of the total power generation of Japan. For effective utilization of exhaust heat like this, the technique of recovering heat by using heat transfer tubes and efficiently converting it for use as another energy source is raising expectations.

Against this backdrop, the joint research conducted aimed to improve heat transfer tube performance by combining the knowledge owned by Associate Professor Enoki’s study group with our proprietary metal sintering technology.
As a result, it has been demonstrated that using our technology to fill an aluminum fiber sintered body in a heat transfer tube made of aluminum improves heat efficiency by approximately 20 times that of a common aluminum heat transfer tube without an aluminum fiber sintered body, and thermal energy carried by the air flowing in the heat transfer tube can be recovered with high efficiency. The developed technology allows for application to heat recovery in environments with small temperature differences, such as recovery of exhaust heat under 200°C, which is currently disposed of in factories, and recovery of cryogenic heat of liquefied natural gas (LNG) transported at about -200°C. It leads to effective utilization of exhaust heat energy, which has been difficult up to now, and the technology is expected to make dramatic contributions to the realization of a carbon neutral and sustainable society.
This result was published in the September issue of Applied Thermal Engineering, one of the top journals in the world in the field of heat engineering.

Cross-section photo of heat transfer tube filled with aluminum fiber sintered body

The vision of the Mitsubishi Materials Group is to “become the leading business group committed to creating a sustainable world through materials innovation, with use of our unique and distinctive technologies” based on its corporate philosophy of “For People, Society and the Earth.” Mitsubishi Materials will continue to help build a more abundant society through developing and supplying nonferrous metal materials and high-value-added products.

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