Last week Cleveland Scene wrote about a local brewery that is recovering its waste heat. They set out to convert the heat into electricity and useful steam for their brewery. In a great quote, the owner Patrick Conway says:

“When our engineer explained this technology to us,” says Patrick, “it was like putting wheels on luggage.”

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The brewery will use the heat to run chillers, and intends also to generate electricity. But there’s a catch:

For the time being, however, Ohio’s regulations and Cleveland Public Power’s archaic rate structures (CPP is Great Lakes’ electricity provider) prevent recycled energy advocates and entrepreneurs from reaping waste-heat recovery’s total benefits. “At Great Lakes, our unit will be able to produce electricity, but won’t.”

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As a result, the brewery only generates heat, and will continue to buy dirtier more expensive power from their utility. It’s certainly a start. But keep those regulatory barriers to wheeled luggage in mind every time you hear that the only barriers to energy conservation are the invention of cost-effective technologies.