Combined Energy & Power (CHP) - Cogeneration
What is Cogeneration?
Cogeneration or CHP (Combined Energy & Power), is the process whereby a single fuel source, such as natural gas, is used to produce both electrical and thermal energy. By definition, an onsite cogeneration system is more efficient than a utility operated central power plant since thermal energy that would otherwise be wasted is captured for use at the facility. The result is a much more efficient use of fuel which can generate substantial savings for the end user. Conventional electrical generation by a utility central plant is only about 35% efficient compared to the 90% efficiency of a Cogeneration Unit.
Cogeneration operates on a very basic principle: Generating electricity produces heat; cogeneration equipment captures that heat and uses it to supply hot water, steam, space heating – even cooling. Thus, an otherwise byproduct of electricity generation becomes a highly useful commodity.
If your facility has a need for thermal energy, in the form of heating and/or cooling, you are a good candidate for a cogeneration system. CHP systems can provide Electricity, Cooling, Heating, Hot water or Steam.
Some Facts about Efficiency:
A typical facility will purchase electricity from the utility and fuel (gas or oil) to power a boiler for hot water and heating. This process is inefficient and expensive when compared to producing electrical and thermal energies onsite through cogeneration systems.
Transmitting power from a central power plant across long distances carries the unfortunate price of a significant waste of power. By the time electricity reaches your facility, much of the energy used to produce the electricity is wasted. Electricity sent over the utility grid is generally between 25% and 35% efficient – which means that as much as 75% of the energy used by the utility to generate and transmit electricity is lost before it even gets to you. By definition, this inefficiency flows through to you as a customer in the form of higher electric rates.
An existing hot water heater (boiler) is typically anywhere from 50% to 80% efficient, which wastes as much as one-half of the input fuel.
The poor overall efficiency of separate electric and thermal energy production is bad news for the environment and for your profitability.
The good news is that Cogen systems equipment provides electricity and hot water at a combined efficiency that approaches 90%.
Electricity created right where it is used, at your facility, has no detrimental power line loss. More importantly, exhaust heat is recovered and provided to your facility as useable energy. Overall, the process is more efficient, which leads to savings for you, and the environment.
Depending on your circumstances, your savings can be substantial compared to the conventional methods of meeting your energy needs.
Learn more about CHP HERE