The Liquid Chimney

Worthington’s Heat Recovery

In 2010, Worthington designed an energy system for Shearer's Foods, a Frito-Lay contract manufacturer.


  • 85% reduction in building heating from waste heat recovery
  • New operational cost created a 30% reduction in metered BTUs; this established a measure of BTU/lb for each product line
  • 30% less energy per pound of product

“A Chimneyless Chimney”

Worthington Energy Innovations first designed the Liquid Chimney as a way to substitute a more efficient closed loop hot-water distribution system for steam systems. It forms the backbone of Worthington’s hydronic loops. Substituting steam boilers with Liquid Chimney powered hot-water systems alone can improve a facility, building or campus can improve energy performance by 40% - 50% for heating and 70% - 80% for absorption chillers. This is in addition to the fact that switching to a hot-water energy distribution system eliminates the high maintenance costs associated with pressure vessels (e.g. steam traps, boiler maintenance & certified welding).

Worthington’s Liquid Chimney and other hot-water system components can be sized, modulated and controlled to fill real-time building demand rather than, as with steam, supplying energy at a constant “peak-load” level. The Liquid Chimney can also achieve heat transfer efficiencies as much as 98%, which compares to an approximate 50% efficiency in steam systems.

The Liquid Chimney Creates Environmental & Sustainability Benefits:

  • The water used in the Liquid Chimney and the hot-water system is sterilized and requires no chemical treatment
  • The water is deoxygenated which reduces corrosion on system components
  • Heat exhaust is minimized due to the Liquid Chimney’s efficiency in capturing heat energy
  • CO2 exhaust is mixed with treated water to produce clean hot water and calcium carbonate, which significantly reduces GHG Emissions

The Liquid Chimney In Process Loads

More recently Worthington Energy Innovations has redesigned the Liquid Chimney to recapture heat used in manufacturing processes and improve overall system efficiency. A leading example of this strategy’s success is the Shearer’s Foods manufacturing plant in Massillon, OH. Worthington installed Liquid Chimneys in the ovens used to manufacture tortilla chips with amazing results. The Massillon facility was the first snack food manufacturing plant in the world to achieve a LEED Platinum rating. Our energy system reduced the BTUs required to produce chips by 30% and the rejection heat from the ovens is able to cover most of the facility’s winter heating requirements.