Thomas R. Casten is an American businessman, author, and activist known for his work on industrial energy recycling. Since 1977, Casten has founded and managed numerous companies and organizations associated with combined heat and power (also called cogeneration), decentralized energy, and waste energy recovery.

Thomas R. Casten
Born1942 (age 77–78)
EducationUniversity of Colorado (BA)
Columbia University (MBA)

Casten is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry[1] and a former U.S. Marine and Eagle Scout.[2]


Casten is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Colorado - Boulder and was valedictorian of his graduating class in Columbia University's MBA program.[3]


Casten was the founding president and CEO of Trigen Energy Corporation (a New York Stock Exchange corporation) and its predecessors from 1977 through 2000. He served until 2006 as founding chair and CEO of Primary Energy and its subsidiary Primary Energy Recycling Corp. In 2006 he founded and was chairman of Recycled Energy Development (RED), based in Westmont, Illinois. In 2016 RED was sold to Ironclad Energy Partners.[4][5] These companies focused on energy recycling, a process that turns waste energy (usually heat) into clean power and steam.[6] Casten has said his goal is to combat global warming in a profitable way, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs at the same time.[7]


Casten has served as president of the International District Energy Association and co-founder and chairman of the World Alliance for Decentralized Energy, which are trade associations that promote combined heat and power, district heating, and other forms of distributed generation. Casten also serves on numerous boards for energy-related institutions, has testified before the energy committees of the U.S. Congress, and served on the informal policy advisory team of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008.[6]

Casten is the author of Turning Off the Heat: Why America Must Double Energy Efficiency to Save Money and Reduce Global Warming.[8] He has also published articles in outlets including American Scientist,[9] the Detroit Free Press,[10] Electricity Journal,[11] and the Albuquerque Journal,[12] as well as a chapter in Energy and American Society: Thirteen Myths.[13] His work on energy recycling received profiles in Forbes,[14] Smithsonian,[7] Nature,[15] US News,[16] The Atlantic,[17] Orian,[18] and National Public Radio.[19]

Personal lifeEdit

Casten and his wife, Judy, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by running the Chicago marathon in 2015.[20] Casten's son, Sean, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.[21] He has two other children: Damien and Gillian.


  1. ^ "CSI Fellows and Staff". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  2. ^ Lukenbill, David H. (April 30, 2008). "American River Parkway Blog: Use the Steam". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "Thomas R. Casten".,com. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  4. ^ "Ironclad Energy Ventures announces partnership with StonePeak Infrastructure Partners and acquisition of RED Investment". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  5. ^ "Recycled Energy Development Completes Sale of RED Investment LLC Including Eastman Business Park Utilities to Ironclad Energy Partners". Business Wire. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Tom Casten". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Hathaway, Bruce. "Converting Energy Waste into Electricity and Heat". Smithsonian. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Casten, Thomas. "Turning Off the Heat: Why America Must Double Energy Efficiency to Save Money and Reduce Global Warming". Amazon. Prometheus Books. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Casten, Thomas; Schewe, Phillip (January–February 2009). "Getting the Most from Energy" (PDF). American Scientist. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  10. ^ Casten, Tom. "Find Greatest Energy Savings in Power Production Industry". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  11. ^ Munson, Richard; Casten, Thomas. "Simplifying Climate Change legislation: Output-Based Allocations" (PDF). The Electricity Journal. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  12. ^ Casten, Tom (November 29, 2007). "Bill Weak Without Energy Recycling Provision". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  13. ^ Sovacool, Benjamin. "Energy and American Society – Thirteen Myths". Springer. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  14. ^ Steiner, Christopher. "Gray Is The New Green". Forbes. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  15. ^ Lindley, David. "The energy should always work twice" (PDF). Nature. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  16. ^ Lavelle, Marianne. "Three Ways Businesses Can Save on Power". US News & Word Report. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  17. ^ Margonelli, Lisa. "Waste Not". The Atlantic. The Atlantic.
  18. ^ McKibben, Bill. "The Unsung Solution: What Rhymes with Waste-heat Recovery?". Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  19. ^ Schaper, David. "'Recycling' Energy Seen Saving Companies Money". National Public Radio. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  20. ^ Hetzel, Megan. "Couple Celebrates 50th Anniversary at Chicago Marathon".
  21. ^ "'Democrat Sean Casten's business background under microscope in 6th Congressional District race". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 5, 2019.