CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world.


Clean Power steam

Published on July 10th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

10

7 Quadrillion BTUs of Free Energy Available

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

July 10th, 2009 by
 

Up to 50 percent of all fuel burned in the US goes unused into our atmosphere as wasted heat; the US Department of Energy has found. The total, a mind boggling 7 quadrillion BTUs; exceeds the current output of all other US renewable sources – such as solar, wind and geothermal, combined.

We could use this potential waste heat capacity to generate 46 GWs of new, clean electricity annually.

So, it’s no surprise that Steven Chu’s remarkably proactive winner-picking Department of Energy is today offering up to $40 million for R&D and demonstration of combined heat and power (CHP) systems.

Combined Heat & Power – especially when combined with District Heating (that’s what’s kept radiators hissing on freezing winter nights in New York Lofts since the 19th century) is more than 80% efficient compared to about 45% for conventional heat and power production.

The DOE solicitation will seek applications for funding of R&D and demonstration of stationary CHP systems at three power levels.

“Each day in the United States, thousands of companies’ burn fossil fuels to heat boilers, melt metals, run engines and cook the food that lines grocery store shelves. Despite industry efforts to use heat from burning fuel as efficiently as possible, staggering amounts literally go up in smoke each year.”

So says William C. Olson of  ElectraTherm; one of the few US CHP companies toiling away in obscurity. Till now. This year, it’s a very different DOE. Recycling heat is hot.

“Utilizing waste heat from industrial processes could increase efficiency by as much as 20 percent — not next year, not in three years — today!  We can literally create energy out of thin air.”

Image from Flikr User Sash13

Via the DOE

Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

Print Friendly

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

Tags: , ,


About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Pingback: President Obama Confirms Reno as Clean Energy Hub – CleanTechnica: Cleantech innovation news and views

  • Pingback: 10 Practical Suggestions for How a Polluting Company Can Easily Reduce its Greenhouse Gases : CleanTechnica

  • Pingback: Cap and Trade 101: How a “Cap” Ensures Carbon Reductions : CleanTechnica

  • David Stone

    Sorry if this seems like a small-minded language lesson, but such inaccurate or totally incorrect statements can be so mis-leading as to manipulate, because most people have either no time, no interest or no intelligence to take them as at anything other that at face value.

    - 7 Quadrillion BTUs of Free Energy Available

    It is not free; it was already paid for.

    If you buy two cds and lose one, finding it again does not make that one free.

    - We can literally create energy out of thin air.

    That statement could be seen as true if it read “We can metaphorically create energy out of thin air.”

    It is precisely literally that we can not.

    And a personal strong dislike of mine: bad puns of the sort CNN loves:

    - Recycling heat is hot.

    Spare me this brainless attempt at humor.

    Though this goes to prove that higher resource prices do not neccesarily lead to higher customer costs.

    They promote efficiency.

    It is like with cars.

    It does not matter how much a gallon costs, but how much a mile does.

  • David Stone

    Sorry if this seems like a small-minded language lesson, but such inaccurate or totally incorrect statements can be so mis-leading as to manipulate, because most people have either no time, no interest or no intelligence to take them as at anything other that at face value.

    - 7 Quadrillion BTUs of Free Energy Available

    It is not free; it was already paid for.

    If you buy two cds and lose one, finding it again does not make that one free.

    - We can literally create energy out of thin air.

    That statement could be seen as true if it read “We can metaphorically create energy out of thin air.”

    It is precisely literally that we can not.

    And a personal strong dislike of mine: bad puns of the sort CNN loves:

    - Recycling heat is hot.

    Spare me this brainless attempt at humor.

    Though this goes to prove that higher resource prices do not neccesarily lead to higher customer costs.

    They promote efficiency.

    It is like with cars.

    It does not matter how much a gallon costs, but how much a mile does.

  • http://recycled-energy.com miggs

    Russ, you’re right that going after low-grade heat is hard. I’m associated with Recycled Energy Development (RED), a company in this field that’s been profiled all over the place (not trying to brag), and RED focuses on very high-heat waste, which is mainly at manufacturing facilities. This article is right on that the potential here is massive. Actually, RED president Sean Casten has written a guest post for CleanTechnica in the past!

  • http://recycled-energy.com miggs

    Russ, you’re right that going after low-grade heat is hard. I’m associated with Recycled Energy Development (RED), a company in this field that’s been profiled all over the place (not trying to brag), and RED focuses on very high-heat waste, which is mainly at manufacturing facilities. This article is right on that the potential here is massive. Actually, RED president Sean Casten has written a guest post for CleanTechnica in the past!

  • Pingback: SUNfiltered : Fresh culture daily. » Blog Archive » Green tech finds (7/10/09)

  • russ

    This is really something important to follow up.

    Having worked with it on an industrial basis I am well aware it is a very difficult task to go after low grade waste heat and polluted heat.

    In traditional heat exchangers the units become massive and uneconomical with low temperatures and high temperatures present problems of metal survival due to various reactions. Middle ground was easy but should be done to a large extent by now. Low temperature units also have a real problem with the acid gas dew point corrosion.

    It will take a real effort to win on this and the people/companies doing it are important to us.

    Hoping to see many successes in this field!

  • russ

    This is really something important to follow up.

    Having worked with it on an industrial basis I am well aware it is a very difficult task to go after low grade waste heat and polluted heat.

    In traditional heat exchangers the units become massive and uneconomical with low temperatures and high temperatures present problems of metal survival due to various reactions. Middle ground was easy but should be done to a large extent by now. Low temperature units also have a real problem with the acid gas dew point corrosion.

    It will take a real effort to win on this and the people/companies doing it are important to us.

    Hoping to see many successes in this field!

Back to Top ↑