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Kueppers Solutions receives award for the "Circle of the Best" of the German Future Award
©Deutscher Zukunftspreis/Ansgar Pudenz

Kueppers Solutions receives award for the “Circle of the Best”

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Autor: Birgit Schmunk

Datum: 06. Dez. 2023

6 December 2023 | Jens te Kaat, Dan-Adrian Moldovan and Bernd-Henning Feller of Kueppers Solutions have been included in the “Circle of the Best” of the German Future Prize for the development of their dual-fuel burner iRecu. The Federal President presented them with a certificate at a festive evening event.

After four years of research, the Kueppers Solutions team developed the iRecu. An efficient burner that can provide required industrial heat from natural gas more economically than conventional devices. The first plants have already been converted to the dual-fuel recuperative burner, confirming that the innovation can make a significant contribution to energy transition in industry.

To have made it into the top candidates for the German Future Prize is a great honour and an absolute team success,” said the team shortly after the award ceremony in Berlin.

Significant fuel savings and hydrogen operation

The dual-fuel unit can run with both natural gas and hydrogen without any additional effort. It is therefore tailored to the gradual introduction of green hydrogen in industry and the CO₂-neutral orientation of many industrial companies.

The heat exchanger also enables immediate fuel savings of between 12% and 50%, regardless of whether the fuel is produced from renewable sources or fossil fuels.

Implementing the technology on a large scale could save 2.1 million tonnes of CO₂ throughout Germany, even before the ramp-up of green hydrogen,” explains Dipl.-Ing. Jens te Kaat.

A jet pump integrated into the burner ensures that nitrogen oxides can be significantly reduced. Another feature is that the burner can run on both natural gas and hydrogen (dual fuel).

Innovation through additive manufacturing

The three engineers have developed the world’s first series-produced burner of this type using metal 3D printing. Dipl.-Ing. Jens te Kaat explains the steps that were taken before their system was ready for series production:

It became clear relatively quickly that a heat exchanger could be built much more effectively using 3D printing than the conventional process. Then we realised that we could use 3D printing to build mixing systems that mix gas and air much more precisely, which has a very positive effect on exhaust gas quality. And then we realised that we could also build these systems with two channels, meaning that we could process hydrogen and natural gas in one system.”

The company Kueppers Solutions is already working with companies such as ThyssenKrupp and Mannesmann to reduce the CO₂- emissions of their plants.

But the ball is now in the politicians court. The government must now work to implement the national hydrogen strategy so that even more plants can be converted efficiently.

Outstanding projects in science and technology

The German Future Prize is one of the most important science awards in Germany. It is awarded each year by the Federal President for outstanding projects in the field of science and technology. The criteria for nomination include the level of innovation, future potential and future market presence.

This year, the best projects from which the winner was chosen, included: Kueppers Solutions from Dortmund (“Resilience for gas supply”), a team from Airbus Operations GmbH, Hamburg (“Filtering CO2 from the atmosphere and making it usable in a variety of ways”) and a team from Siemens Healthineers AG and the University Hospital Erlangen (innovative platform for the medical application of magnetic resonance imaging). The prize, endowed with 250,000 euros, was awarded for the 27th time and went to the team from Erlangen.

(Source: Kueppers Solutions GmbH/2023)