Green Steam: Heat Recovery, and Power Generation in the Clean Energy Transition

June 25th, 2024

Could steam capture and utilization bring sustainability and circularity to a range of industrial processes? Giles Crosse investigates.

This article was written by Giles Crosse, and has been sourced from

As the world’s industries look to optimize their operations, with clean energy and carbon emissions targets looming ever larger in the collective consciousness, an increasing number of new, or at least reimagined, industrial applications and processes are coming to the fore as a means to this end.

Workers examine a new heat recovery steam generator boiler module at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco’s) combined cycle thermal power station in Kawasaki, Japan. (Photo by: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Often, such work can be about utilising existing technologies better, or perhaps combining them with new technological processes and devices in more efficient, more innovative ways. One such example is the heat recovery steam generator, which captures waste heat produced in power facilities, and stores it as steam, which can later be used to produce electricity, improving the operational efficiency of overall processes.

The key here is that the flexibility of the process – heat is often produced by a range of industrial processes – means many companies across a range of sectors can invest in green steam. There is plenty of scope to align new environmental priorities with sectors that are often thought of as antithetical to the green energy revolution, such as coal mining or oil drilling, a fact which makes green steam all the more attractive.

Steam Driving the Future

Heat recovery and utilization could prove to be big business. The global heat recovery steam generator market size could hit $1.2bn by 2026, which would grant the sector a combined annual growth rate of around 4.2%.

Things are moving fast, with new technological innovation and industrial investment, especially for green energy technologies, driving change in the sector.  In 2022, Mitsubishi Power received an order for an H-25 gas turbine for the Taiwanese firm Chang Chun Plastics to become the core of a new high-efficiency, natural gas-fired cogeneration facility at the company’s Dafa Factory in Kaohsiung.

Operation is scheduled to begin around winter 2023, with the unit supplying power for the company’s factories, and steam for manufacturing processes.

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