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THERMCAST: Valorisation of foundry sands as medium-high temperature waste heat recovery materials

The industrial sector in the UK accounts for 17 % of its overall energy consumption, the majority of which is in the form of heat (BEIS, 2017). Waste heat recovery (WHR) and reuse are thus the next frontiers for energy-intensive industries. Among available technologies, thermal energy storage (TES) is a cost-effective and versatile solution for WHR. Latent heat TES (LHTES), based on the isothermal heat absorption/release during phase change, is a promising sub-category of TES. To further enhance the properties of phase change materials (PCMs) and improve their performance, they can be encased within porous matrices consisting of refractory materials. Spent foundry sand is a by-product/waste from metal casting processes. In a typical casting process, fresh sand is used to construct moulds in which the metal is poured in the desired shape. After solidification, the metal is extracted and the sand reused until quality standards are not met, at which point it is disposed of in landfills. The aim of this project is to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of a novel business case of industrial symbiosis in which the waste product of one industry (e.g. metal foundries) is valorised as a key component for novel WHR systems to increase efficiency and decrease the carbon footprint of others such as forging and steelmaking.

Dr Argyrios Anagnostopoulos

University of Birmingham


Dr. Anangostopoulos is a Research Fellow at the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. He has an industrial engineering background with an MSc in renewable energy systems engineering. His PhD focused on enhancing the specific heat capacity of molten salts for medium-high temperature thermal energy storage applications. He is currently participating in a FET-Open European project focused on recovering the energy from vibrating machinery through spontaneous liquid intrusion/extrusion in superhydrophobic media. His interests lie in thermal energy storage, waste utilization, corrosion and surface science.

Published: November 3rd, 2021
Posted in projects

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