If your company’s main electricity and heating demand are great enough (generally $30K/month), a Cogeneration System, or Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP), may benefit your business. Also, the facility has natural gas available on site, you most likely can qualify for CHP. Cogeneration Systems provide your location with electricity and heat at a very high combined energy efficiency (close to 90%). Cogeneration systems produce two types of commercial energy, Electricity, and Hot or Chilled Water.
Benefits of Cogeneration
A Cogeneration Site functions by using the “waste” heat that comes from the Cogeneration System. This system operates more efficiently than a typical energy source, such as a utility power plant or an on-site boiler.
A Cogen or CHP system helps in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which can come from producing electricity and hot water. This reduction can be as high as 50%. The operating costs for these utilities (electricity and water) can also be reduced by up to 50%.
How Cogeneration Works
Cogeneration Systems utilize natural gas to power an engine which generates electricity. The electricity generated is supplied into the facility and reduces the building’s commercial electricity usage, and associated energy costs.
Simultaneously, the “waste” or extra heat from the Cogeneration Plant is used to offset fuel that would have been used in the facility’s boilers and water heaters. This helps the boilers to run at a lower capacity, which also reduces the company’s commercial natural gas bill.
The waste heat from the Cogeneration Plant can also be converted into cooling by an absorption chiller. This lessens the load on the site’s other chillers, used for air conditioning, which are usually powered by electricity.
Best Facilities for a Cogeneration System
Facilities with generally unchanging thermal and electrical needs can be good candidates for Congeneration Systems. These sites include schools, hospitals, government buildings, large apartments and/or condominiums, industrial buildings, nursing homes, and most large facilities.
Overall, Cogen is an attractive solution for larger energy users vs traditional Deregulated Electricity or Commercial Solar Power. The financial benefits and energy efficiency of Cogeneration Systems make this an option worth exploring.