Energy recovery is the act or process of extracting energy from usable or waste materials by using any of various conversion processes. This article discussed energy recovery definition, principles and importance, as outlined below;
Energy Recovery Definition: 8 Ways to Define Energy Recovery
Energy recovery is the extraction of energy from waste materials and energy facilities, in such a manner that minimizes wastage and ensures sustainability .
An alternative energy recovery definition may further specify the types of materials that can be used as substrates or energy sources in this process, as shown below;
Energy recovery is the process by which both recyclable and non-recyclable materials can be converted to fuels or energy.
Although both recyclable and non-recyclable materials can be subjected to energy recovery processes, it is more economical and common to use non-recyclable materials . It is also important to highlight the fact that energy recovery is itself a form of recycling, since it can convert impaired or useless materials to useful energy.
Below is an alternative energy recovery definition which specifies some materials used in the process;
Energy recovery is a conservative process that applies any of various methods to convert biomass in the form of wood, food waste, agricultural and municipal organic waste; as well as inorganic materials like plastic, into energy that can be used to do work .
The above definition highlights the role of conversion methods in energy recovery. By so doing, it also reveals the link between energy recovery and waste-to-energy concepts, since both involve the application of any of various conversion methods.
Some of these methods are mentioned in the energy recovery definition that is given below;
In the process of energy recovery, the main end-product is energy. The following energy recovery definition attempts to outline the possible forms in which this energy may occur;
The above definition highlights a correlation between energy recovery and renewable energy, specifically bioenergy production. This correlation exists in practical scenarios, since the treatment of organic waste in a biorefinery is a form of energy recovery .
By highlighting renewable energy production, it implies that the product(s) of energy recovery can serve equal or similar purpose as solar, geothermal, wind, hydro and wave energy. This is an arguable point, because all forms of renewable energy can only be harnessed through some form of extraction or ‘recovery’.
What it ultimately implies is that energy recovery products can serve similar applications as renewable energy forms. The following energy recovery meaning mentions some of such applications;
Energy recovery is the process by which materials are converted to energy, or by which energy wastage is minimized, for purposes of heating, cooling, and electricity generation, among others.
Minimization of energy wastage is the goal of energy conservation. Links between both concepts (energy conservation and recovery) are acknowledged in the energy recovery definition below;
Energy recovery is the act of conserving energy, and increasing the energy efficiency of systems by transforming waste to energy that can be used for various purposes.
The term ‘systems’ above may refer to a broad range of entities including cogeneration systems, waste management systems, smart grid systems, energy management systems, and circular economic systems. It may also refer to ecosystems, as shown in the energy recovery definition below;
Energy recovery is an approach that is linked to concepts like sustainable development, soil conservation, water conservation, and environmental remediation, all of which aim to protect the ecosystem and mitigate environmental degradation in the form of resource depletion, air quality decline, water pollution, climate change and global warming, among others.
Importance of Energy Recovery
The importance of energy recovery arises from its role in resource conservation, and its ability to increase the quality of the environment, economy and society.
These points highlighted in the importance of energy recovery, are all aligned with the pillars and goals of sustainable development, which are concerned with protecting the environment, boosting the economy, and improving the quality of life.
An outline of the importance of energy recovery is given below;
1. Environmental Pollution Prevention
2. Resource Conservation
3. Public Health Improvement
4. Economic Sustainability
5. Efficiency Optimization
6. Conservative Electricity Generation
7. Low-Cost Production
Principles of Energy Recovery
Principles of energy recovery are;
- Energy transfer
- Wastage minimization
- Material conversion.
Energy recovery is the process or act of conserving or extracting energy from materials or energy production systems.
Importance of energy recovery is due to its role in conservation of materials and energy.
Principles of energy recovery are; energy transfer, wastage minimization, and material conversion.
1). Alibardi, L.; Astrup, T. F.; Asunis, F.; Clarke, W. P.; Gioannis, G.; Dessin, P.; Lensn P. N. L.; Lavagnolo, M. C.; Lombardi, L.; Muntoni, A.; Pivato, A.; Polettini, A.; Pomi, R.; Rossi, A.; Spagni, A.; Spiga, D. (2020). “Organic waste biorefineries: Looking towards implementation.” Waste Management 114:274-286. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2020.07.010. (Accessed 15 September 2022).
2). Boer, E.; Banaszkiewicz, K.; Boer, J.; Pasiecznik, I. (2020). “Energy Recovery from Waste—Closing the Municipal Loop.” Energies 2022, 15(3), 1246. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/en15031246. (Accessed 15 September 2022).
3). Laštůvka, I. I.; Vitez, T.; Chovanec, J.; Mareček, J. (2016). “Zero Waste; Energy Recovery From Non-recyclable Mixed Municipal Waste.” Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis 64(1):99-108. Available at: https://doi.org/10.11118/actaun201664010099. (Accessed 15 September 2022).
4). Siwal, S. S.; Zhang, Q.; Devi, N.; Saini, V.; Pareek, B.; Gaidukoys, S.; Thakur, V. K. (2021). “Recovery processes of sustainable energy using different biomass and wastes.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 150(1):111483. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2021.111483. (Accessed 15 September 2022).