In diesel generating systems that are commonly used in rural Alaska, approximately 30 percent of the fuel is transformed into electricity and 60 percent of the fuel is transformed into heat energy. This heat energy is normally wasted into the atmosphere but can be captured from the exhaust stack, jacket water, and charge air. The most efficient use of this recovered heat is to pipe it directly to nearby building(s) for space heating, domestic hot water, or to municipal water supplies to prevent freezing and facilitate treatment. The heat recovery systems are a form of energy efficiency that lowers operating costs in rural facilities, provides revenue to rural utilities and reduces overall use of diesel fuel.
AEA also provides technical assistance to communities that are interested in innovative heat recovery technology and will assist in technology evaluation. Innovative technologies might include various Combined Heat and Power (CHP) applications. CHP is the concurrent production of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy from a single source of energy. CHP may be regarded as a supply‐side energy efficiency measure.
For an up-to-date snapshot of AEA’s Heat Recovery Program activities, please see our downloadable Factsheet.