Posted by: Nicole Telidis
It’s ironic that the greatest wasters of electricity are the plants producing it. It’s also neglectful, contemptible and unnecessary. Power plants are only 33% efficient: 2/3 of the energy they produce from burning fuel is wasted to tail gas and heat.
Ever seen those massive chimney stacks which seem to be manufacturing dirty clouds? Those “clouds”, technically known as tail gas, are the non-recyclable leftovers from chemical processes. Heat, another byproduct of fuel processing, is a form of energy which dissipates quickly and must be harnessed close to the source.
Some weeks ago, I learned about the company called Recycled Energy Development (or RED for short) on the Virtual Energy Forum. RED designs technologies which capture and recycle waste heat and emissions from power plants, boosting efficiencies. They’ve implemented their technology all over the States and even in Canada (PEI and London) to improve power plant efficiencies, which Sean Casten, CEO of RED, claims haven’t improved in the U.S. since 1957 because of lax governmental policy. Efficient plants mean less carbon dioxide production and lower plant operating costs.
As said by the late architect Buckminster Fuller: “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.” (source)
In other words, nothing is “just” waste. In these energy-stringent years, waste is a luxury we can’t afford. Instead, we need to look through the smoke and recognize the true value of our resources at hand. Whether our source is the sun, the wind, garbage, tail gas, or our own human fat (not recommended), the right technologies and cooperation will let us capture energy from every source available.