In industrial processes that transform raw materials into useful products — steel mills, paper plants, refineries, chemical plants, oil and gas pipelines — heat is often wasted. Recycled energy — also known as waste heat to power — is the process of recovering the heat that would otherwise dissipate into the atmosphere and converting it into electricity with no additional emissions or fuel consumption. Recycled energy systems both reduce the energy costs to industrial facilities and reduce the total emissions of existing plants by offsetting electricity that would otherwise have been purchased from the grid.
Recycled energy is classified as an "eligible energy resource" under Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard, and in some parts of the state, utility incentives are available for recycled energy projects. As of 2018, Colorado had two recycled energy facilities with10.2 MW of 4 MW installed capacity. Although recycled energy technology has been underutilized in Colorado in the past, recent reports suggest that it has great potential. It is estimated that there are 52 sites across the state at which it would be economically feasible to generate up to 106 MW of recycled energy.
- CEO Recycled Energy Market Overview - Updated 2017
- CEO Recycled Energy Market Overview 2016
- U.S. Department of Energy Southwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership
- The Heat is Power Association
- Recycled Energy Fact Sheet (Xcel Energy Customers)
- Recycled Energy Fact Sheet (Non-Xcel Customers)
- Recycled Energy for Oil and Gas Facilities
More than 75% of Colorado sites with the potential for recycled energy projects are oil and gas facilities. Opportunities to turn waste heat into an asset exist all along the oil and gas industry value chain, including flares and produced water at wellheads, engines at compressor stations, and process heat at refinery and gas processing operations.
Generating power from waste heat can improve electric service reliability onsite, save facility owners money by offsetting the cost of purchased fuel and electricity, provide power to remote locations, and reduce a company’s carbon footprint and emissions. In addition, recycled energy is an eligible energy resource that can contribute to Colorado’s renewable energy standard goals.
The Colorado Energy Office recognizes the opportunity for oil and gas companies to use this wasted resource to generate electricity without producing additional emissions. In order to increase deployment of recycled energy in the state, the Colorado Energy Office has partnered with the Department of Energy’s Southwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership to offer free evaluations for potential projects.
Oil & Gas Facility Resources
For general information, contact:
Susan Brodie - Heat is Power Association
For information about site screening and feasibility studies, contact:
Gavin Dillingham - U.S. Department of Energy Southwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnership