Waste heat recovery is an actual goal. The best way to valorize waste heat is to use it directly with the appropriate level of temperature. If the temperature level is insufficient, many reverse machine configurations are available in order to obtain the appropriate conditions (the most known are heat pumps and heat transformers). Finally, the remaining unused heat could be converted to any noble form of energy (mechanical, electrical essentially). We propose here to examine, with a new point of view, the thermomechanical conversion limit of waste heat. This limit corresponds to adiabatic conversion for an endo-reversible Carnot engine, with a perfect thermal contact at the atmospheric sink (supposed infinite). The Carnot–Chambadal model version is applied to latent and sensible heat recovery cases. The results associated with these two cases differ fundamentally. Comments are provided on the two studied cases, and new criteria to characterize the corresponding waste heat recovery are proposed.
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