Frequently Asked Questions
Conventional Industrial Site
The following diagram depicts a typical industrial site, which purchases electricity and fuel, uses the energy to produce finished goods, and emits significant waste energy from the processes.
The following diagram shows the original industrial site with energy recycling added. The site purchases less electricity and less fuel to produce the same quantity of finished goods and, as a result, vents less waste energy.
What is Recycling Energy?
Recycling waste energy streams is accomplished by Primary Energy in two ways:
- converting industrial waste energy streams into heat and power with on-site generation plants; and
- building combined heat and power ("CHP") facilities near thermal energy users to enable recycling of normally wasted thermal energy from the production of electric power to displace host boiler fuel.
Industrial Waste Energy Recycling
Many industrial processes produce byproduct energy streams such as (i) hot exhaust gases, (ii) flare gases and (iii) high pressure gases. Hot exhaust gases are generated by facilities such as coke ovens, glass furnaces, petroleum refineries and hot rolled steel ovens, which all have high temperature exhaust that can be converted into electricity and thermal energy. Flare gases are typically created by blast furnaces, which reduce iron ore to molten iron and produce byproduct gas that must be flared for cleanup. Finally, energy in the form of pressure drop energy is created when gases, including steam and natural gas, flow from high pressure pipes to low pressure points of use. Electric power and thermal energy can be produced by capturing and recycling these forms of waste energy produced by industrial processes.
Recycling with On-site Combined Heat & Power Plants
In a typical electric power generation plant, input fuel is used to create electricity while excess thermal energy (in the form of steam) is wasted in the process. Many facilities, both commercial and industrial, require a substantial amount of thermal energy for heating, cooling and other low temperature processes. By locating an electric generation plant on-site at a facility that has a significant demand for thermal energy, steam that is typically wasted can be used by the host. Each CHP plant reduces their host's energy costs and reduces emissions as compared to buying power off of the grid and producing steam with boilers.