Thomas Casten

Thomas Casten, founder, and chair of Recycled Energy Development, LLC, has spent 42 years developing decentralized energy recycling projects aimed at profitably reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. Platt’s Global Energy awarded Tom its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. Mr. Casten served as President of the International District Energy Association and received the Norman R. Taylor Award for distinguished achievement. He was named a “CHP Champion” by the US Combined Heat and Power Association. Tom co-founded and Chaired the World Alliance for Distributed Energy (WADE) and is the first member of their Hall of Fame. Mr. Casten has served on the Board of Directors/Advisory Boards of the Carnegie Melon Electric Industry Center, American Council on Renewable Energy, Ontario Alliance for Clean Technology, Climate Institute, and Chicago Council on Global Affairs Energy Task Force, and is an internationally recognized expert on energy and related environment issues. He published numerous articles, testified on multiple occasions before US Senate and House Energy committees, and has advised Canadian, Indian, Chinese, and Brazilian government officials on power industry governance. He is the author of Turning Off the Heat and chapters in Energy and American Society, Thirteen Myths, and Sudden and Disruptive Climate Change.

Tom founded several companies to advance more efficient production of usable energy, including Cummins Cogeneration Company, Trigen Energy Corporation (NYSE, 1994-2001), Primary Energy Recycling Company (Toronto Stock Exchange 2005), and Recycled Energy Development. Since 1977, these firms have deployed roughly $2.0 billion in over 300 combined heat and power projects, nearly all of which continue to operate with at least twice the efficiency of conventional separate generation of heat and power. Although these projects annually avoid 6.5 million tons of CO2 emissions, Tom is quick to note that worldwide human actions emit 6.5 million tons of CO2 every 90 minutes.

After retiring in 2016, Tom volunteered to direct economic analysis for the International Biochar Initiative. He guides research to identify optimal paths for sequestering carbon and defining a new regenerative agricultural paradigm that includes biochar for soil amendments construction materials. His paper, “Profitably Bending the Global Warming Curve,” summarizes recent research to show how the world can drawdown nearly 1 trillion tons of atmospheric CO, satisfying the Paris Accord goals while improving global standards of living.

At a personal level, Tom and Judy, over their 55 years of marriage, have raised three children in environments that often hosted what they fondly refer to as ‘stray kids’ for periods of weeks to years. These temporary visitors have come from over 20 countries representing a broad mixture of ethnicity, religion, and social stratum. This enriching experience led them in 2000 to endow the Casten Family Foundation to promote global understanding by supporting international educational travel. The Foundation’s initial major grant was to Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY, to provide seed money for 135 teacher-led international trips exposing teachers and scholarship kids to other societies over the past 20 years.

Thomas R. Casten,
Retired Clean Energy Entrepreneur

Director, Economic Studies,
International Biochar Initiative