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Combined heat and power

Incineration, Plant, Amager,Slope,(amager,Bakke), In Copenhagen, Denmark

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is a technology that allows the simultaneous production of electricity and useful heat from a single energy source, such as natural gas, biomass, or waste heat.

CHP is also known as cogeneration, but there are some differences between the two terms. Cogeneration refers to using a simple cycle gas turbine to generate electricity and steam. At the same time, CHP refers to using a combined cycle power plant that uses steam to drive a steam turbine and produce more electricity.

CHP is more efficient than cogeneration because it utilizes more thermal energy in the fuel. CHP can also provide cooling by using absorption chillers that use the waste heat to produce chilled water.

Sorø Bioenergi Photograf Steen KnarbergCHP – energy-efficient and environmentally friendly

CHP is an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way of generating power and heat for various applications, such as industrial processes, district heating and cooling, and buildings. CHP can reduce energy costs, increase power reliability, and decrease carbon emissions by avoiding the losses associated with separate electricity and heat generation.

CHP can also reduce the strain on the transmission and distribution grid by providing distributed generation close to the point of consumption.

Metz_biomass_power_stationCHP systems vary a great deal

CHP systems can vary in size, fuel type, prime mover, and configuration depending on the specific needs and preferences of the user. Some examples of prime movers for CHP systems are reciprocating engines, combustion turbines, steam turbines, microturbines, and fuel cells.

Each prime mover has advantages and disadvantages regarding efficiency, cost, maintenance, noise, emissions, and flexibility. The choice of prime mover depends on factors such as the required power-to-heat ratio, the quality and quantity of heat demand, the availability and price of fuel, and environmental regulations.

CHP district heating

Cogeneration is a more efficient use of fuel or heat because otherwise-wasted heat from electricity generation is put to some productive use. Combined heat and power (CHP) plants recover otherwise wasted thermal energy for heating. This is also called combined heat and power district heating. Small CHP plants are an example of decentralized energy.

By-product heat at moderate temperatures (100–180°C can also be used in absorption refrigerators for cooling. The supply of high-temperature heat first drives a gas or steam turbine-powered generator. The resulting low-temperature waste heat is then used for water or space heating. At smaller scales (typically below 1 MW), a gas engine or diesel engine may be used.

So, how does CHP work?

Economic benefits of CHP systems

CHP systems offer significant economic benefits. Their increased efficiency leads to lower energy costs, while the ability to generate heat and power on-site reduces dependency on external energy supplies. For industries and large facilities, this can mean substantial savings and enhanced energy security. Moreover, due to their environmental benefits, CHP systems often qualify for government incentives and support.

Lower CO2-emissions with energy transition

Environmental Impact

By reducing the fuel needed for energy production, CHP systems help lower carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions. This makes them an essential component in efforts to combat climate change and promote cleaner air. CHP also supports the integration of renewable energy sources, further enhancing its environmental credentials.

The future of CHP

As the energy landscape evolves, CHP systems are expected to play a crucial role in modernizing energy infrastructure. Technological advances, such as the development of micro-CHP systems and the integration of CHP with renewable energy sources, will continue to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of energy systems worldwide.

What is Combined Heat and Power (CHP)?

  • Definition: Combined Heat and Power (CHP), or cogeneration, is a system that simultaneously produces electricity and useful heat from a single fuel source.
  • Components: Typically includes a prime mover (e.g., gas turbine, steam turbine, or engine), generator, and heat recovery unit.
  • Efficiency: Can achieve 60-80% efficiency compared to the 33% average efficiency of traditional power plants.
  • Applications: Used in industrial facilities, hospitals, universities, residential complexes, and more.
  • Benefits: Reduces fuel consumption, lowers energy costs, decreases greenhouse gas emissions, and provides reliable energy.


Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is a transformative technology that enhances energy efficiency, reduces environmental impact, and offers economic advantages. By understanding and implementing CHP systems, industries and communities can move towards a more sustainable and resilient energy future. As advancements continue, CHP will remain a pivotal component in the global energy transition.

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