Alphabet Energy Banks On Waste Heat Recovery To Curb Emissions

A California-based start up has an inspiring goal: to help companies on a global scale harness the heat normally lost in manufacturing and turn it into electricity that can be used to power operations, on-site.

Alphabet Energy is working with a waste heat recovery technology developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that converts heat normally lost in areas such as metals refining, cement and glass production, power generation, automotive and aerospace, and military, directly into electricity–a core technology boasting a potentially huge worldwide market that could offset as much as 500 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year. The company’s proprietary thermoelectric technologies, which can be miniaturized, are believed to be the only on the market that lend themselves to massive scale by utilizing an abundant material, as well as existing manufacturing techniques. (Thermoelectric materials are semiconductors that can generate electricity in the solid state, with no moving parts.)

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image via Alphabet Energy

The company has attracted a lot of attention and investment recently–first, with $320,000 in Small Business Innovation Research grants from the U.S. Army and Air Force and the Department of Energy, and a similar amount in angel funding from leading energy investors, and now with $1 million in seed financing from Claremont Creek Ventures (CCV) and the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF). “This will accelerate our time to market with enormous capital efficiency and enable Alphabet to become the go-to solution for a variety of industries with massive quantities of wasted energy that can be turned into electricity,” said Alphabet Founder and CEO Matthew L. Scullin, in a statement.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.