The International Energy Agency (IEA) is into the third phase of research aimed at increasing the adoption rates of combined heat and power (CHP) and district energy technology.
COSPP spoke to Energy Technology Analyst Araceli Fernandez about the work of the IEA collaborative group for CHP and she told us that CHP is to an extent a victim of its own versatility.
“It is dependent on the region you are discussing but for this technology – generally it’s a fact that it is a mature technology which hasn’t really tapped its full potential through the years and if you look at statistics in terms of penetration it seems that it hasn’t really overcome the obstacles to CHP in power generation globally.”
“Obviously cogeneration is a flexible technology providing heat and energy simultaneously. It’s also tapping different markets in that sense. It really poses new challenges other technologies don’t do because of its duality and flexibility.”
The IEA collaborative group for CHP was initiated in 2007 and it’s a platform comprised of governments, international organisations and private companies.
Araceli says the current phase is looking at entire project processes with a view to demonstrating how barriers that have traditionally afflicted the industry can be overcome. Many suggested solutions are being understood from the collaborative work being undertaken.
“One of the analysis reports we are focused on is about creating a compendium of case studies. We look at the different applications of DHC (District Heating and Cooling) and CHP to show how proven technology approaches can overcome barriers, and then from these technical solutions we show how a policy framework can incentivise the technologies, how financing mechanisms can be found and how a business track record can be built.”
The case studies the group examine range from large industrial CHP right down to exponents of micro CHP. The group looks at successful cases right from when the process of technology selection takes place at the beginning of a project to how a project has found solutions for financing such as support mechanisms like grants.
Ultimately, Araceli says, the information will be used to “prove that CHP is more beneficial from the economic and environmental point of view in respect of other technologies for that specific application or service required.”
“We won’t focus only on financing, on technology only or on business structure alone but rather the whole process chain for any particular case study.”
Simultaneously the IEA has developed a pilot project aimed at monitoring the performance of the technology in different countries and regions.
“We want to analyse it country by country through our country score cards project in this phase. Included in these evaluations could be recent developments policy-wise and we compare that and benchmark that against our best practice policies database.”