By definition energy is neither created or destroyed; it just changes forms. So in a way you could think, we’re recycling energy all the time. However the term “energy recycling” has come to mean utilizing energy that would normally be wasted. An example of a systems that “recycles energy” is the waste-heat recovery water boiler Sean Casten designs and sells to factories like the Maxwell Coffee Roasters Plant in Florida. The system places tubes of water on top of the factories stacks that blow out heat yielded from production. The excess heat hits the tubes to make steam which moves a turbine that produces electricity for the factory.
Also the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as invested $106 million into finding ways to transform captured carbon dioxide emissions into usable solid forms and possibly fuel. The $106 million was matched by a $156 million invested by the private sector. It is thought that in-duct scrubbers with enzyme catalysts that will capture CO2 in a solidified form that when combined with clays can be used as construction materials. There is also potential to turn waste CO2 into a various forms of plastics. Lastly, coal-fired CO2 absorbed by algae in a water source of controlled temperature, can be extracted and used as a co-product for biofuels.
Before these types of conversions can be commercialized, investors and their research teams need to find cheaper ways to capture/separate/store CO2 waste.
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