Don’t miss this profile of Tom Casten and his company, Recycled Energy Development, in the latest issue of Forbes. (Of course Tom spawn and Gristmill contributor Sean gets off some zingers, but they’re about ethanol, so don’t read them! I know how you people get.)
Recycled energy — otherwise known as cogeneration, or combined heat and power, or waste heat, or simultaneous recyclo-combinatory hot-waste power re-generation — is an odd bird in the energy debate. Not many people know about it, and the people who do know about it tend to be, um, more versed in engineering or finance than in marketing. Nobody really knows how to talk about it. In one sense, it’s power generation, so analogous to (and judged against) coal plants and wind farms. (In that sense it’s "dirty," since the power is usually produced, if indirectly, from fossil fuels.) In another sense, it’s efficiency — getting more use out of a unit of primary fuel. (In that sense it’s "clean," since it reduces total emissions.) It’s this weird third thing. Its potential is huge but people don’t have a great mental model for it, so it doesn’t stick in people’s heads.
But you Grist readers are different. You’ll remember: simultaneous recyclo-combinatory hot-waste power re-generation is the wave of the future! Watch for a line of t-shirts.