Company profile: Qpinch reclaims wasted energy by mimicking nature

Wasting heat energy harms both the environment and the economic efficiency of a process. Qpinch (formerly known as Caloritum) in Antwerp, Belgium, has developed an innovative chemical process to recycle waste heat to a more useful level than conventional heat pumps.

‘This is not just a problem for the chemical industry, it’s a problem for the entire industry,’ says Christian Heeren, one of the company’s two founders. Companies buy gas and burn it to produce steam to run all kinds of processes from the food industry to papermaking and chemical production. Such processes can be running for around 8000 hours a year, which translates into a huge energy demand and a lot of CO2 emissions. ‘At some point, the steam is deteriorated to the point where it is no longer useful.’ To comply with legal requirements, companies often have to spend additional energy and effort to further cool down the waste heat, before they are allowed to release it into the environment.