Waste Heat to Power

sus·tain·able : capable of being sustained; of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.


Anywhere that there is an industrial process that involves transforming raw materials into useful products – steel mills, cement plants, paper mills, refineries, chemical plants, incineration, calcining, oil and gas pipelines, and general manufacturing — heat is a byproduct of the process. This waste heat is produced whenever the operation is running, often 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If not recycled as process heat or converted to produce emission-free power, the heat dissipates into the atmosphere as a wasted resource.

Capturing industrial exhaust heat that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere and converting that heat to useful electricity is also “green” power, in addition to providing an incremental revenue stream to the industrial host by commercializing this waste resource.  This helps the sustainability of the industrial host as well as the environment.  17 states now consider power generated from waste heat to be “renewable” resource with benefits similar to solar and wind, and awareness of this unique resource continues to grow. Opportunities for economical waste heat recovery utilizing waste exhaust energy sources include a wide array of industrial processes such as:

  • Petroleum coke calcining
  • Cement and lime manufacturing
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Steel manufacturing
  • Waste incineration
  • Excess vent steam from process such as sulfuric acid manufacture
  • Flaring from shale gas production and other petroleum processes

Much more information about industrial waste heat-to-power can be found at the Heat is Power Association.

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