Co/Tri Generation of Power
CHP stands for combined heat and power or better known as Co/Tri-Generation of power. CHP is the process of the simultaneous generation of multiple forms of power or energy. CHP consists of a number of components including but not limited to either a heat mover, biomass or fuel based generator (prime mover), heat recovery system and an electrical interconnection.
CHP is very environmentally friendly and energy efficient way to produce power or thermal energy from a single fuel source. It can be used as a sole source of electricity or as a supplement. Implementing a CHP solution means you would no longer have to purchase electricity from a utility and the heat generated would supplement burning fuel for an on-site boiler or furnace in a commercial or industrial facility.
In order for the process to be as efficient as possible every CHP application involves the recovery of the thermal energy to produce new useful thermal energy or electricity. Electricity from the grid and natural gas boilers provide less than 50% efficiency whereas a CHP system can be up to 90% efficient.
Generating your own power has these advantages:
- Alleviates the uncertainty of rising electrical and gas costs.
- Provides almost continuous electrical power.
- Reduces current energy costs through the implementation of a single efficient source of power.
- Environmentally friendly.
CHP has several advantages over traditional energy sources. CHP provides reduced energy costs for the user through improved efficiencies. Because CHP uses less fuel than conventional electrical generation it greatly reduces greenhouse gases and the emissions of air pollution. The generation of onsite electricity from a CHP unit avoids transmission and distribution losses associated with the electrical grid. Additionally, onsite generation reduces grid congestion, improves the reliability of the electrical grid and eliminates the need to invest in central generating plants and distribution.
A CHP installation will provide for greater energy reliability for the facility. Producing your own energy avoids problems or power outages from the grid or central distribution center. This is especially advantageous for Tier 1 auto suppliers, hospitals, military installations, industrial facilities and governmental facilities where a power disruption is costly and inconvenient.
Implementing a CHP unit or units is a long term strategy for reducing and managing your energy costs over a long period of time. Typically natural gas futures or long term gas contracts can eliminate or reduce rising costs of gas and electricity for industrial facilities, hospitals, governmental facilities and manufacturing facilities. Understating your long term energy costs helps you plan and budget more accurately on a year over year basis.
There are several main engine (prime mover) options including; combustion turbines, steam turbines, mircoturbines, fuel cells or reciprocating engines and they can run on a variety of fuel types such as high or low pressure natural gas, propane, biogas, diesel and kerosene.
Taking power into your own hands
New EPA regulations are taking an unprecedented number of coal fired central power plants off line in the next several years. Under the EPA’s MACT rule (mercury and air toxics rule) and the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) the EPA plans to close 10% of the countries coal fired power plants which represent more than 34 gigawatts of electrical generating capacity.
The majority of the plants are located in the Midwest with a heavy emphasis on Ohio and Michigan. The closure of the plants will have a dramatic effect on the cost of electricity starting June of 2014 with additional rate increases throughout 2015. The PJM Interconnection which is a regional transmission organization that coordinates the wholesale movement of electricity in 13 states has stated that wholesale prices on electricity will increase by 350% during 2014 and 2015. The increase was due to the increasingly stringent environmental regulations. The increase in wholesale prices will have a major impact on utility bills across the Midwest and East Coast with Northern Ohio baring the highest costs, up to a 60% increase.
With ever increasing energy prices and the uncertainty of the electrical grid implementing a CHP system makes sense for commercial and industrial users.