Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is the simultaneous generation of usable heat and power (usually electricity) in a single process. CHP is a highly efficient way to use both fossil and renewable fuels and can therefore make a significant contribution to the UK’s sustainable energy goals, bringing environmental, economic, social and energy security benefits.
CHP systems can be employed over a wide range of sizes, applications, fuels and technologies. In its simplest form, it employs a gas turbine or gas fired engine to drive an alternator, and the resulting electricity can be used either wholly or partially on-site. The heat produced during power generation is recovered, usually in a heat recovery boiler and can be used in a number of industrial processes, to provide hot water for space heating, or with the appropriate equipment installed, cooling (see Trigen).
The CHP unit is often utilised as the ‘lead’ boiler using the waste heat from the electricity generating process to provide useful heat for space heating, domestic hot water, swimming pool heating etc.
Because CHP systems make extensive use of the heat produced during the electricity generation process, they can achieve overall efficiencies in excess of 70% at the point of use. In contrast, the efficiency of conventional coal-fired and gas-fired power stations, which discard this heat, is typically around 38% and 48% respectively, at the power station. Efficiency at the point of use is lower still because of the losses that occur during transmission and distribution.
In contrast, CHP is a form of a decentralised energy technology. CHP systems are typically installed onsite, supplying customers with heat and power directly at the point of use, therefore helping avoid the significant losses (which occur in transmitting electricity from large centralised plant to customer).
Ameon has designed and installed many CHP systems of differing size and application including trigeneration and would be pleased to discuss your specific project requirements.