Combined Heat and Power: Effective Energy Solutions for a Sustainable Future
Many jurisdictions across the United States are diversifying their sources of energy either voluntarily or as the result of a mandate. This involves both the use of renewable sources such as wind and solar power, as well as increasing the efficiency of conventional sources such as natural gas. Many communities are turning to combined heat and power (CHP) solutions to improve energy efficiency, reduce environmental impacts, foster economic development, and bolster energy infrastructure. Unlike conventional power plants that generally do not reuse the heat produced during the electricity generation process, CHP solutions use a variety of fuels (e.g., natural gas and petroleum) to simultaneously generate electricity and heat used to power auxiliary energy generating turbines, provide heat for industrial purposes, or provide climate control for buildings. This capturing and reusing of otherwise wasted head dramatically increases the efficiency of CHP solutions. Moreover, CHP solutions are smaller than central station power plants and can therefore be located at or near the point of power and heat consumption.
To facilitate the capture and reuse of otherwise wasted energy, local governments can foster the co-location of complementary energy production/energy consumption facilities (e.g., industrial parks that use biogas obtained from an adjacent landfill). This report higlights CHP solutions and the following four areas where CHP has proven its effectiveness:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through enhanced energy efficiency
- Creating jobs and lowering business costs
- Versatility in deployment
- Relieving strains on the country’s electricity grid and thereby enhancing our energy security
This report was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Industrial Technologies Program. It was prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a multiprogram science and technology laboratory managed for the DOE by UT-Battelle, LLC. ORNL's mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that will accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security, and in doing so create economic opportunity for the nation.
Energy that comes from sources that are not depleted by use. Examples include energy from the sun, wind, and small (low-impact) hydropower, plus geothermal energy and wave and tidal systems.A fuel that is produced from the mixture of two gases - methane and carbon dioxide. The gases are themselves the product of the bacterial decomposition of organic matter such as sewage and municipal wastes. Especially popular as a fuel in the generation of hot water and electricity. See also BIOFUELS.Energy efficiency is the process of using less energy to produce the same or increased functions. Often used mistakenly as a synonym for ENERGY CONSERVATION. Greenhouse gases are a part of the Earth's atmosphere and are both naturally occurring and the result of human chemical processes. The most common greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluourocarbons. These gases trap heat and thus contribute to the warming of the planet. See also CFCS and GREENHOUSE EFFECT.The ability or potential of a physical body to do work. The most common forms of energy are heat, light, mechanical (moving parts), and electrical.