Heat Recovery

  • Overview
  • Partnership
  • Case Studies

Heat Recovery Fact Sheet

Combined Heat and Power (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. Typical applications for heat recovery are environmental space heat for community buildings and augmented electric power generation.

In diesel generating systems that are commonly used in rural Alaska, approximately 30 percent of the fuel is transformed into electrical energy and 60 percent of the fuel is transformed into heat energy. This heat energy that is normally wasted into the atmosphere can be recovered from the exhaust stack, jacket water, and charge air. The most efficient use of recovered heat is to use it directly for space heating, domestic hot water, or for tempering municipal water supplies to prevent freezing and facilitate treatment. The heat recovery systems are an extremely attractive investment with paybacks of three to five years in many communities.

AEA also provides technical assistance to communities that are interested in innovative heat recovery technology and will assist in technology evaluation. Currently, Kotzebue is in the construction phase for an innovative recovered diesel heat to electricity technology, and Unalaska’s system is operational. This Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology has the opportunity to use recovered diesel heat in application where building heat is not feasible.  Cordova and Tok have completed the installation of this ORC technology. Initial testing has shown that the economics of these systems are challenging, even for rural Alaska


For more information please contact:

Devany Plentovich
AEEE Program Manager

A collaboration between the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), AEA, Alaska Village Electrical Cooperative, and small, independent electrical cooperatives meet annually to prioritize communities for heat recovery feasibility studies. Up to seven studies are completed annually with funding from ANTHC and AEA. The studies provide all of the required information for a community to apply for design and construction funding.