Waste Heat Recovery

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Waste Heat Recovery


What is Waste Heat Recovery?

There are more than 500,000 smokestacks in the U.S. that are "wasting" heat, an untapped resource that can be converted to energy with Waste Heat Recovery technologies.

About 10% of these 500,000 smokestacks represent about 75% of the available wasted heat which has a stack gas exit temperature above 500 degrees F. which could generate approximately 50,000 megawatts of electricity annually and an annual market of over $75 billion in gross revenues before tax incentives and greenhouse gas emissions credits.

Waste Heat Recovery technologies represent the least cost solution which provides the greatest return on investment, than any other possible green energy technology or "carbon free energy" opportunity! 

Typical Waste Heat Recovery Installation


Waste Heat Recovery

Absorption Chillers  *  Battery Energy Storage  *  CHP Systems  *  Ecogeneration  Frequency Regulation

Heat Recovery Steam Generator  Trigeneration  Waste Heat Boiler  *  Waste Heat Recovery



"The Future of Energy is ' Net Zero Energy'
'Way Beyond Solar!'"



"Net Zero Energy" to Reach Revenues of $690 Billion / year by 2020
and $1.3 Trillion / year Industry by 2035


Clean Power Generation Solutions

CHP Systems are a superior clean power generation solution for data centers, hospitals, universities, municipal utility districts and new real estate developments/subdivisions seeking "net zero energy" solutions. 

When Natural Gas is priced at $4.00/mmbtu, our CHP Systems generate clean power for a fuel cost at about $0.04/kWh.  With operations & maintenance added in - we generate clean power for about  $0.55/kWh - probably 50% less than your present electric rates, plus we also provide essentially-free heating/hot water as well as the clean power.

CHP Systems (Cogeneration and Trigeneration) Plants 
Have Very  High Efficiencies, Low Fuel Costs & Low Emissions

The CHP System below is Rated at 900 kW and Features:
(2) Natural Gas Engines @ 450 kW each on one Skid with Optional 
Selective Catalytic Reduction
system that removes Nitrogen Oxides to "non-detect."

The Effective Heat Rate of the CHP System below is 
4100 btu/kW with a Net System Efficiency of 92%.



CHP Systems may be the best solution for your company's economic and environmental sustainability as we "upgrade" natural gas to clean power with our clean power generation solutions. 

Emissions Abatement solutions reduce Nitrogen Oxides to "non-detect" which means our CHP Systems can be installed and operated in most EPA non-attainment regions!

Waste Heat Recovery continued 

In some cogeneration and trigeneration designs, the exhaust gases can be used to activate a thermal wheel or a desiccant dehumidifier. Thermal wheels use the exhaust gas to heat a wheel with a medium that absorbs the heat and then transfers the heat when the wheel is rotated into the incoming airflow.

A professional engineer should be involved in designing and sizing of the Waste Heat Recovery section. For a proper and economical operation, the design of the heat recovery section involves consideration of many related factors, such as the thermal capacity of the exhaust gases, the exhaust flow rate, the sizing and type of heat exchanger, and the desired parameters over a various range of operating conditions of the cogeneration or trigeneration system — all of which need to be considered for proper and economical operation.

Many industrial processes generate large amounts of waste heat energy that simply pass out of plant stacks and into the atmosphere or are otherwise lost. Most industrial waste heat streams are liquid, gaseous, or a combination of the two and have temperatures from slightly above ambient to over 2000 degrees F. Stack exhaust losses are inherent in all fuel-fired processes and increase with the exhaust temperature and the amount of excess air the exhaust contains. At stack gas temperatures greater than 1000 degrees F, the heat going up the stack is likely to be the single biggest loss in the process. Above 1800 degrees F, stack losses will consume at least half of the total fuel input to the process. Yet, the energy that is recovered from waste heat streams could displace part or all of the energy input needs for a unit operation within a plant. Therefore, waste heat recovery offers a great opportunity to productively use this energy, reducing overall plant energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

Waste heat recovery methods used with industrial process heating operations intercept the waste gases before they leave the process, extract some of the heat they contain, and recycle that heat back to the process. 

Common methods of recovering heat include direct heat recovery to the process, recuperators/regenerators, and waste heat boilers. Unfortunately, the economic benefits of waste heat recovery do not justify the cost of these systems in every application. For example, waste heat recovery from lower temperature waste streams (e.g., hot water or low-temperature flue gas) is thermodynamically limited. Equipment fouling, occurring during the handling of “dirty” waste streams, is another barrier to more widespread use of heat recovery systems. Innovative, affordable waste heat recovery methods that are ultra-efficient, are applicable to low-temperature streams, or are suitable for use with corrosive or “dirty” wastes could expand the number of viable applications of waste heat recovery, as well as improve the performance of existing applications.

Various Methods for Recovery of Waste Heat

Low-Temperature Waste Heat Recovery Methods – A large amount of energy in the form of medium- to low-temperature gases or low-temperature liquids (less than about 250 degrees F) is released from process heating equipment, and much of this energy is wasted. 

Conversion of Low Temperature Exhaust Waste Heat – making efficient use of the low temperature waste heat generated by prime movers such as micro-turbines, IC engines, fuel cells and other electricity producing technologies. The energy content of the waste heat must be high enough to be able to operate equipment found in
cogeneration and trigeneration power and energy systems such as absorption chillers, refrigeration applications, heat amplifiers, dehumidifiers, heat pumps for hot water, turbine inlet air cooling and other similar devices. 

Conversion of Low Temperature Waste Heat into Power –The steam
Rankine cycle is the principle method used for producing electric power from high temperature fluid streams. For the conversion of low temperature heat into power, the steam Rankine cycle may be a possibility, along with other known power cycles, such as the Organic Rankine Cycle

Small to Medium Air-Cooled Commercial Chillers – All existing commercial chillers, whether using waste heat, steam or natural gas, are water-cooled (i.e., they must be connected to cooling towers which evaporate water into the atmosphere to aid in cooling). This requirement generally limits the market to large commercial-sized units (150 tons or larger), because of the maintenance requirements for the cooling towers. Additionally, such units consume water for cooling, limiting their application in arid regions of the U.S. No suitable small-to-medium size (15 tons to 200 tons) air-cooled
absorption chillers are commercially available for these U.S. climates. A small number of prototype air-cooled absorption chillers have been developed in Japan, but they use “hardware” technology that is not suited to the hotter temperatures experienced in most locations in the United States. Although developed to work with natural gas firing, these prototype air-cooled absorption chillers would also be suited to use waste heat as the fuel.

What is "Cogeneration"?

Did you know that 10% of our nation's electricity now comes from "cogeneration" plants?

And because cogeneration is so efficient, it saves its customers up to 40% on their energy expenses, and provides even greater savings to our environment through significant reductions in fuel usage and much lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Cogeneration - also known as “combined heat and power” (CHP), cogen, district energy, total energy, and combined cycle, is the simultaneous production of heat (usually in the form of hot water and/or steam) and power, utilizing one primary fuel such as natural gas, or a renewable fuel, such as Biomethane, B100 Biodiesel, or Synthesis Gas.

Cogeneration technology is not the latest industry buzz-word being touted as the solution to our nation's energy woes. Cogeneration is a proven technology that has been around for over 120 years!

Our nation's first commercial power plant was a cogeneration plant that was designed and built by Thomas Edison in 1882 in New York. Our nation's first commercial power plant was called the "Pearl Street Station."

What is a Heat Recovery Steam Generator?

A Heat Recovery Steam Generator, or "HRSG" is a boiler that captures or recovers the exhaust of a prime mover such as a combustion turbine, natural gas or diesel engine to create steam.

Stated another way, a HRSG is used to recover energy from the hot exhaust gases in power generation. It is a bank of tubes that is mounted in the exhaust stack. Exhaust gases as much as 800 °F to 1200 °F heat these tubes. Water is pumped and circulated through the tubes and can be held under high pressure to temperatures of 370°F or higher which can be boiled to produce steam.

Furthermore, the HRSG separates the caustic compounds in the flue gases from the occupants and equipment that use the waste heat. HRSG's are found in may combined cycle power plants.

What is "Trigeneration"?

Trigeneration is the simultaneous production of three forms of energy - typically, Cooling, Heating and Power - from only one fuel input. Put another way, our trigeneration power plants produce three different types of energy for the price of one.

Trigeneration energy systems can reach overall system efficiencies of 86% to 93%.  Typical "central" power plants, that do not need the heat generated from the combustion and power generation process, are only about 33% efficient.

Trigeneration Diagram & Description
Trigeneration Power Plants' Have the Highest System Efficiencies and are 
About 300 % More Efficient than Typical Central Power Plants

plants are installed at locations that can benefit from all three forms of energy.  These types of installations that install trigeneration energy systems are called "onsite power generation" also referred to as "decentralized energy."   

One of our company's principal's first experience with the design and development of a trigeneration power plant was the trigeneration power plant installation at Rice University in 1987 where our trigeneration development team started out by conducting a "cogeneration" feasibility study.  The EPC contractor that Rice University selected installed the trigeneration power which included a 4.0 MW Ruston gas turbine power plant, along with waste heat recovery boilers and Absorption Chillers.  A "waste heat recovery boiler" captures the heat from the exhaust of the gas turbine.  From there, the recovered energy was converted to chilled water - originally from (3) Hitachi Absorption Chillers - 2 were rated at 1,000 tons each, and the third Hitachi Absorption Chiller was rated at 1,500 tons. The Hitachi Absorption Chillers were replaced shortly after their installation by the EPC company.  The first trigeneration plant at Rice University was so successful, they added a second 5.0 MW trigeneration plant so today, Rice University is now generating about 9.0 MW of electricity, and also producing the cooling and heating the university needs from the trigeneration plant and circulating the trigeneration energy around its campus.

Trigeneration Chart
Trigeneration's "Super-Efficiency" compared 
with other competing technologies
As you can see, there is No Competition for Trigeneration!


Waste Heat Recovery

Absorption Chillers  *  Battery Energy Storage  *  CHP Systems  *  Ecogeneration  Frequency Regulation

Heat Recovery Steam Generator  Trigeneration  Waste Heat Boiler  *  Waste Heat Recovery


Trigeneration power plants are the ideal onsite power and energy solution for customers that include:  Data Centers, Hospitals, Universities, Airports, Central Plants, Colleges & Universities, Dairies, Server Farms, District Heating & Cooling Plants, Food Processing Plants, Golf/Country Clubs, Government Buildings, Grocery Stores, Hotels, Manufacturing Plants, Nursing Homes, Office Buildings / Campuses, Radio Stations, Refrigerated Warehouses, Resorts, Restaurants, Schools, Server Farms, Shopping Centers, Supermarkets, Television Stations, Theatres and Military Bases.

At about 86% to 93% net system efficiency, our trigeneration power plants are about 300% more efficient at providing energy than your current electric utility. That's because the typical electric utility's power plants are only about 33% efficient - they waste 2/3 of the fuel in generating electricity in the enormous amount of waste heat energy that they exhaust through their smokestacks.

Trigeneration is defined as the simultaneous production of three energies: Cooling, Heating and Power.  Our trigeneration  energy systems use the same amount of fuel in producing three energies that would normally only produce just one type of energy. This means our customers that have our trigeneration power plants have significantly lower energy expenses, and a lower carbon footprint.

What is a
Waste Heat Boiler?

Waste heat boilers are a special type of boiler that generates steam by removing the heat from a process that would have otherwise been wasted. 

Waste heat boilers are therefore able to provide significant reductions in fuel and energy expenses, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Waste heat boilers may be horizontal or vertical shell boilers or water tube boilers. They would be designed to suit individual applications ranging through gases from furnaces, incinerators, gas turbines and diesel exhausts. 

The prime requirement is that the waste gases must contain sufficient usable heat to produce steam or hot water at the condition required.
Waste heat boilers may be designed for either radiant or convective heat sources. 

In some cases, problems may arise due to the source of waste heat, and due consideration must be taken of this, with examples being plastic content in waste being burned in incinerators, carry-over from some type of furnaces causing strongly bonded deposits and carbon from heavy oil fired engines. 

Some may be dealt with by maintaining gas-exit temperatures at a predetermined level to prevent dew point being reached and others by soot blowing. 

There is increasingly greater interest in onsite power generation plants, including; cogeneration (combined heat and power) plants which incorporate waste heat recovery technologies as well trigeneration plants that also include waste heat recovery technologies as absorption chillers which generate chilled water for air-conditioning.

What is a "
Waste Heat Recovery Boiler"?

A waste heat recovery boiler is, essentially, a boiler without any energy input. Waste heat recovery boilers are usually placed on top of a heat source or stack. Inside the waste heat recovery boiler is a series of tubes that has water inside, that is continuously circulated. The "wasted heat" is recovered on the hot side, and transferred to the water inside the tubes of the waste heat recovery boiler boiler, and then steam is generated to power a steam turbine generator, which then generates power.

What is "Net Positive Energy?"

Net Positive Energy - when applied to a home or commercial building, means the home or business generates more power and energy than they consume, when measured on an annual basis.  The excess power and energy can then be sold/transferred/exported to the grid or to their surrounding neighbors in order to off-set and eventually replace the "dirty brown electrons" generated from highly polluting and inefficient "central power plants."

What is a "Positive Energy Building?"

Net Positive Energy - A "positive energy building" produces more energy (from renewable energy sources) than it consumes.  This surplus energy can then be sold to produce an income to a neighbor or exported to the electric grid for revenue or a credit (see Net Energy Metering).

About us

The founder of the Renewable Energy Institute (REI) was first involved in Net Zero Energy buildings and Solar Trigeneration sm energy system in 2001 - 2002.  This started with family-owned real estate developments in Northern and Southern California.  This interest was accelerated when REI's founder was introduced to the President of a solar company in Los Angeles and their client, the Audubon Nature Center at Deb's Park (Los Angeles) that was planning to build a new 5,000 sf office and conference center. Except, the new building for the Audubon Nature Center was about 1/2 mile from the end of the power lines and a very costly extension of the power lines to their new facility forced them to consider a solar solution. When the Audubon Nature Center's new 5,000 sf office and conference center was completed in 2003, the facility not only featured the Solar Trigeneration sm energy system - they were awarded one of the first Platinum LEED Awards by the USGBC - and the powerlines were still 1/2 mile away! To this day, 100% of the power and energy for the Audubon Nature Center's building is supplied by the Solar Trigeneration sm energy system - whether at 12 noon, or 12 midnite.  (The Audubon's facility also includes a battery energy storage system for back-up power generated by the Rooftop PV panels as well as a thermal energy storage system that stores the excess hot water generated by the evacuated tube collectors).

These early projects led to more client inquiries and engagements with real estate developers, architects and building owners in Southern California, Louisiana and Texas and the advent of a growing Net Zero Energy industry along with Solar Cogeneration sm  & Solar Trigeneration sm energy systems. This culminated in a family-owned 200 (Net Zero Energy) home real estate development in Desert Hot Springs which has been approved but not yet constructed. 

During this time, the REI's Founder became a volunteer and Advisor to the University of Texas' Solar Decathlon Competition. He coordinated the donation of the same solar thermal system used at the Audubon Nature Center's facility in Los Angeles, for UT's entry in the 2002 Solar Decathlon Competition in Washington, D.C.  UT's entry in the Solar Decathlon Competition placed 1st in the domestic hot water competition that year (2002) and 4th overall, out of 20 universities that had entered. 

In 2006, after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the REI was formed and several of the REI's board members and a Professor from the University of Texas School of Architecture formed a design team to enter the Brad Pitt/Global Green Rebuild New Orleans Competition.  Our entry also focused on sustainable building solutions and materials as well as the Net Zero Energy concepts, incorporating once again, a Solar Trigeneration sm energy system. 

Today, the REI "Flagship" has chartered the Renewable Energy Institute in Florida, with discussions to open REI state chapters in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Oregon. 

The REI supports greater use of Net Zero Energy systems by architects, builders, homeowners and owners of commercial buildings. This includes "upgrading" homes and commercial buildings to Net Zero Energy.  The REI provides Net Zero Energy; advertising, business development, conferences, e-commerce, education, marketing, online marketing, public relations, renewable energy, sales and strategic marketing solutions for architects, builders, cities, colleges, HVAC contractors, Net Zero Energy developers, real estate developers and universities.


Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Next Frontier


Net Zero Energy Market to Become $1.3 Trillion/year Industry by 2035


Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Coming - What About The Buildings Already Standing?



American Energy Plan sm

3-5 million new jobs

Net Zero Energy = Free Power and Energy!

= Fuel Savings of > $2.00/gallon

American Energy Independence

Ends the worst economic depression of all time





Balance Of Plant - BOP



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Battery Energy Storage - BES






Concentrated Solar Power - CSP






Distributed Energy Resources - DER






Energy Investment Banking





Engineering Procurement Construction - EPC







Front-end Engineering Design - FEED






Enhanced Oil Recovery





Solar Power now "Cheaper than Coal!" sm




Molten Salt Storage












Parabolic Troughs





Power Purchase Agreements - PPA




Solar Cogeneration






Solar Trigeneration






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~ R. James Woolsey, Jr., former Director of the CIA

Price of Addiction
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Waste Heat Recovery






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