Combined Heat & Power Is Clean, Efficient and Reliable- and Saves Money!
Combined Heat & Power (CHP) is a method of generating electricity that reduces emissions and improves efficiency by reusing the waste heat. A well designed and thermally balanced CHP plant operates between 60% and 85% thermal efficiency – more than double the efficiency of a standard central power plant. A CHP plant does not operate on any new or breakthrough technology: The increased efficiency is achieved by simply using more of the wasted energy to displace other heating and cooling energy sources, i.e. using the waste heat to provide process heat, domestic hot water and chilled water for air conditioning.
The environmental footprint of these plants is equally as important as their energy use. In the case of efficient CHP plants, there is a major reduction of CO2 compared to traditional electric power plants or the use of onsite boilers and chillers for other energy needs. In comparing facilities with CHP plants against those using onsite boilers and chillers, CHP reduced emissions between 28% and 82%. The higher level of reductions came from thermally balanced or high efficiency CHP (those with a thermal efficiency of 65% or more).
Some examples of facilities for which CHP makes sense include:
- Industrial Parks: A large number of commercial and industrial operations are located in contiguous industrial park developments. The availability of onsite generation for business-critical electric loads is an increasing concern.
- Office Parks: There are a large number of urban and suburban office parks which have multiple buildings and frequently include hotels, restaurants and retail in addition to large owner or tenant occupied office buildings.
- Institutions: State and Federal facilities occupy more than 100 million square feet of building space in New Jersey. Many of these are on large multi-building sites located in proximity to other large energy users. These represent a major opportunity to develop or host CHP operations.
- Pharmaceutical Facilities: Research and development and manufacturing are energy intensive activities with large ventilation rates and associated high energy costs. Many pharmaceutical companies with multi building campus locations currently have onsite CHP cogeneration.
- Colleges and Universities: Higher education facilities and pharmaceutical facilities have the largest number of existing CHP systems. However, many of these systems are in need of upgrade or expansion due to campus growth.
- Hospitals and Health Care Facilities: Hospitals are required to have redundant electrical services and emergency generators, while health care facilitates have very high HVAC costs due to their use of fresh air and high rates of air changes per hour (often six times that of a conventional office building). These buildings are also very electric power intensive.
- Large Retail Centers: Shopping malls and related retail centers are often multi tenant and multi building sites with both large electric and thermal energy needs.
- Port Facilities: These include large warehousing and industrial facilities (including refrigerated storage) associated with their cargo operations.
- Petroleum Refining and Chemical Industries: This is a market sector where CHP has made strong inroads with many early large scale applications.