Waste to Energy/Heat Challenge (20 K € in Prizes)

Mario HonrubiaRecent ChallengesEnergySustainability Challenges

The soda manufacturing process is intensive in energy and water consumption and CIECH wants to make it more sustainable. Can you help CIECH to find new solutions to recover energy/heat from the waste generated during this process? Join the challenge (click on the button below), register, and download the complete description of this competition. 

Summary of the Challenge

For each ton of produced soda, there is up to 8 m3 of post-distillation slurry released, which means a stream of around 800 m3/h. The slurry consists of non-soluble calcium salts as well as dissolved calcium and sodium chloride. The temperature of the stream is usually in the range of 100-115 ºC. It is not feasible to reuse the low-heat stream in existing processes. Moreover, standard heat exchanging technologies seem to be non-suitable due to the fact that part of the dissolved inorganic salts will precipitate upon cooling. The combination of those two factors calls for an innovative solution in order to usefully capture the wasted energy.

What CIECH is looking for

CIECH, a leading European soda manufacturer, is looking for solutions which allow the recovered energy to be utilized in:
  • electricity generation
  • conversion to cold/powering cooling systems 
  • re-use in the soda manufacturing process
The client is willing to economically recover the maximum energy from post distillation slurry to be used at the site, at a lower cost compared to the cost of energy from the network. And this must be achieved with a minimal investment.

Evaluation criteria

All proposed solutions will be evaluated by the following criteria:
  • Technical feasibility.
  • The highest volume of material used (partial volumes will be also evaluated)
  • The best Business Case (the lowest operational cost and the highest value)
  • Investment required (maximum 10 years recovery)


This is a 2-round tournament with the following timeline:
  • 1st round – 6 weeks + 4 weeks for evaluation
  • 2nd round – 3 weeks + 2 weeks for evaluation

Prize: 20,000 EUR

The participants that submit the best solutions from Round 1 will share 5,000 EUR,  as long as they continue participating and deliver detailed solutions in Round 2.  The best solution from Round 2 that meets the evaluation criteria will be awarded 12,000 EUR. The second and third best solutions will also receive 1,500 EUR each. The client may be interested in further collaborating with the participants in the development of the proposed solutions. Participate in the challenge