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Inside Innovation: Carbon Cap offers building owners an economical and immediate solution for carbon reduction

John Bleasby
Inside Innovation: Carbon Cap offers building owners an economical and immediate solution for carbon reduction

Canadian company Carbon Cap has developed a patented mechanical flue gas waste energy recovery system (FGR) that can be retrofitted alongside any commercial boiler, make-up air ventilation (MUA), or air conditioning system, regardless of age, size or efficacy.

It’s an easily installed, economical system that helps lower natural gas consumption, reduces emissions and extends equipment life by up to 25 per cent. It represents a potential carbon reduction solution for existing buildings.

Raphael Kolenko, the inventor behind Carbon Cap, addressed key questions posed by the Daily Commercial News.

How does Carbon Cap work?

Carbon Cap’s FGR system is a zero-downtime retrofit that is completely independent of the boilers. The system significantly reduces natural gas consumption as well as the related carbon emissions. It’s proven to be a sustainable heating solution for apartment buildings, hotels, condos and other large consumers of domestic hot water. This saves owners money, taxes, and makes them better environmental stewards.


Why is Carbon Cap an attractive alternative to electrification in existing buildings?

The Carbon Cap system presents a simpler alternative contingent on the owner’s long or short-term overall strategy and on the direction of energy supplies both physically and politically.

Electrification certainly offers a promising path toward sustainability. However, it requires careful consideration of energy sources, environmental impact, costs, logistics and reliability. The Carbon Cap system offers a viable solution by potentially simplifying these complexities, aligning with the broader strategic and practical needs of building management.


Fossil fuel emissions are a problem. But aren’t there also environmental factors at play with electrification?

The current trend in building energy strategies is certainly towards electrification. However, a crucial question arises: Where does this electricity come from?

For instance, in hydrogen production, is the source brown, blue or green? If a building ends up relying on coal-fired electricity, retaining natural gas boilers might be more environmentally friendly.

Conversely, if the energy comes entirely from renewable sources like wind or solar, further questions arise concerning the environmental impact of their construction and expected useful life.


What are the ROI considerations for electrification versus Carbon Cap?

Switching to electric boilers, heat pumps or geothermal systems can be a substantial economic and mechanical undertaking, especially in retrofits.

When evaluating the ROI for energy projects, either upgrades or new construction, building operators must consider several factors that include cash flow, utility costs, the availability of subsidies or incentives and taxes, as well as the proposed technology’s impact, including asset appreciation. Another factor is the logistics of getting a building reassessed and approved by authorities for additional electrification.

Carbon Cap’s fourth generation FGR system features stainless steel plenums with removable coils.
CARBON CAP – Carbon Cap’s fourth generation FGR system features stainless steel plenums with removable coils.

How does Carbon Cap align with regulations in jurisdictions that are incentivising buildings to reduce carbon emissions or, like Vancouver, are forcing them to do so?

Carbon Cap offers a pragmatic solution to this challenge by focusing on waste heat recovery. That directly reduces the consumption of fossil fuels. By decreasing fossil fuel use, our technology lowers carbon emissions and consequently their carbon tax liabilities. This aligns with the environmental goals of carbon tax policies and provides tangible financial benefits to building operators.

There is a complex interplay between energy supply capabilities and the demands of modern urban developments. For developers and building operators, balancing these factors is essential for the successful implementation of heating and cooling systems in new or existing construction projects.


You hold patents in 27 countries. What’s next on the horizon for Carbon Cap?

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will soon announce Carbon Cap as an official Heat Recovery Solution provider to the State of New York. Going forward, our expanded system features will also include pre-preheating MUA, as well as pre-cooling A/C and ventilation air.

Additional developments underway include a feature to provide a commercial heat pump system with low grade heat. Another will use the condensate produced by the Carbon Cap system for potentially use in gray water applications, an attractive feature in jurisdictions with waste water restrictions and high disposal costs.

John Bleasby is a Coldwater, Ont.-based freelance writer. Send comments and Inside Innovation column ideas to

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