The commercial combined heat and power (comCHP) market consists of a loose collection of building types, ranging from hospitals and schools to high-rises, prisons, and other categories. As a whole, the market is growing steadily, but to date it has achieved limited penetration into global building infrastructure.
In 2014, just under 32 gigawatts (GW) of capacity was installed worldwide, with a global average capacity of approximately 2 megawatts (MW) per installation. Today, installations are mostly confined to developed markets in Northern Europe, South Korea, Japan, and the United States. Hospitals, universities, and other applications with nearly 24/7 heat load requirements represent the greatest share of global installations.
Although comCHP is less developed than industrial CHP with respect to installed capacity, in recent years its use has steadily increased, particularly in the United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific. This increase is due largely to technical improvements and cost reductions in smaller-scale (often pre-packaged) systems that match the thermal and electrical requirements of buildings. Many owners of commercial properties, especially those of smaller facilities, are not aware of opportunities to install CHP, as energy management is not a part of their core businesses. This situation limits the number of potential CHP installations that are ultimately pursued. However, commercial companies are increasingly considering CHP as a cost-effective way to reduce their carbon footprints.
According to a new report from Navigant Research, Combined Heat and Power for Commercial Buildings: Fuel Cell, Engine, and Turbine Technologies for Cogeneration in Commercial, Institutional, and Municipal Buildings: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts[RM1] , the floor space that could potentially be served by comCHP is estimated at 441 billion square feet globally in 2015. Only a fraction of this total can be realistically served, however, due to the high upfront capital cost associated with CHP systems.