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Making Use of Excess Heat

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Science  14 Aug 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5942, pp. 811
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_811

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The single biggest opportunity to increase the "energy productivity" of American industry, according to a report issued in July by the consulting group McKinsey & Co., lies untapped in the furnaces of ethanol refineries, paper mills, and other heat-consuming industries. The key is to make use of heat that would otherwise be thrown away. One way to do that is via cogeneration, or "combined heat and power," a technique that is more than a century old but newly fashionable.