Cogeneration is an integrated energy system that provides electricity and heat, usually in the form of hot water or steam. While not really an energy source itself, cogeneration (also known as combined heat and power, or CHP for short), squeezes more usable energy out of each unit of fuel most everywhere it is applied.
Electricity generation based on fossil fuels is rather inefficient. Heat is an inevitable by-product of any power produced by gas or steam turbines. With cogeneration, the waste heat from electricity generation is recovered and used for applications such as space heating and cooling, water heating, and industrial process heat. By converting heat to useful steam or hot water, a typical cogeneration unit can produce combustion efficiencies of as high as 75% to 80%, compared to about 40% for a combined-cycle gas turbine plant at full load.
Combining a typical cogeneration product with Thermal Energy’s proprietary FLU-ACE® heat recovery technology can push efficiency up to as high as 93%.
Cogeneration remains among the most efficient ways to convert fossil fuels and biomass into useful energy and can make a significant contribution to meeting energy efficiency improvement targets. 
- Significant fuel savings: By using outputs and waste from one process as inputs to other processes, cogeneration systems are highly efficient, resulting in considerable financial savings due to the efficient use of primary fuel.
- Lower emissions: The improved fuel efficiency also means proportionally lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- Distributed energy: Electricity can be produced closer to load than centralized power production. This allows for geographically dispersed generating plants and reduces transmission losses.
- Emergency energy: If there is a blackout, the cogeneration unit works as a backup source securing the supply of energy so there is no danger of electricity supply being interrupted.
Appropriate sizing and selection of equipment is the most critical factor to the success of any cogeneration project. If incorrect, the plant will not meet the expected output or return. Identifying an appropriate and available location to place the equipment early is crucial as this can significantly impact on the implementation costs if no adequate space is freely available.
For many industrial and institutional operations, cogeneration is an energy solution that can save money, improve energy reliability and security, while reducing the facility’s “carbon footprint.” An assessment and/or study by Thermal Energy’s qualified engineering team can help you determine whether cogeneration should play a part in the energy solution for your facility.