“With Waste Heat to Power, it’s unique in that it’s using something that is already being vented into the atmosphere and isn’t recovered, and we’re doing something useful from it. We’re taking a waste product and making something useful out of it – in this case, clean power.”

Tallgrass Energy and Kanin Energy announced on Thursday a joint effort to develop four Waste Heat to Power (WHP) clean energy projects along the Rockies Express Pipeline.

One of these sites will be in Shelby County.

Once developed, the WHP projects will have an installed capacity of more than 48 megawatts of baseload, carbon-free energy, according to a press release.

This is enough energy to power 8,000 homes within the county’s power grid, said CEO of Kanin Energy Janice Tran.

WHP projects capture heat that is a byproduct from industrial processes and converts that waste heat into electricity, requiring no additional fuels.

This means Waste Heat to Power is a source of clean energy, but unlike solar and wind, it can generate power 24/7, instead of only during the day or when it’s windy out, Tran said.

Tran said WHP sites are common in Europe and Asia, but not popular in North America.

“The initial idea actually came from geothermal,” Tran said. “The process of geothermal is drilling in the ground for heat to generate power,”

Two of Tran’s co-founders at Kanin worked together at a geothermal company.

“One of the issues with drilling in the ground is that it’s a pretty heavy capital cost to do that,” she said. “So the idea here was, the innovation we had, the lightbulb moment we had, was what if we didn’t drill in the ground, but look above ground for that same temperature of heat?”

They started looking along the Rockies Express Pipeline for areas that generate a lot of heat, and one of the compressors on the pipeline that generates the most heat is in Shelby County.

The pipeline runs through the southern part of the county and through St. Paul.

“It’ll be on the back end of a compressor station on the Rockies Express Pipeline,” Tran said. “It’ll be close to Shelbyville.”

Because this site is to be placed on an existing site, it will not require more land.

All four of these WHP projects are located along this pipeline. The other three are in Ohio. They are expected to start producing power in 2024, according to the press release.

The four projects are expected to generate approximately 410,000 MWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of providing decarbonized power to 38,000 households in the United States, according to a press release.

“Decarbonization is a priority for Tallgrass,” said Justin Campbell, Vice President – Power and Transmission for Tallgrass Energy Partners. “We are working hard to identify opportunities to reduce emissions and promote clean power generation and that includes capturing and using heat that is currently wasted to generate electricity.”

Tran said in a press release that they are excited to be working with Tallgrass to develop these projects.

“We see 24/7 carbon-free energy as the next frontier of sustainability,” she said. “We are focused on our proprietary waste heat to power projects because they provide baseload power from heat in industrial processes that would otherwise not be used and to create something valuable – clean energy. This is a great opportunity to help the industrial sector quickly meet their decarbonization goals.”
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