Combined heat and power (CHP) – sometimes referred to as cogeneration – provides a cost-effective, near-term opportunity to improve our nation's energy, environmental, and economic future. CHP is an efficient and clean approach to generating on-site electric power and useful thermal energy from a single fuel source. While CHP may not be widely recognized outside industrial, commercial, institutional, and utility circles, it provides highly efficient electricity and process heat to some of the most vital industries and largest employers, urban centers, and campuses in the United States. CHP applications can operate at 65-75% efficiency, a significant improvement over the national average of 50% for these services when provided separately.
CHP technologies hold enormous potential to improve the nation’s energy security and resilience and help us meet our environmental goals. CHP positively impacts the health of local economies and supports national policy goals in a number of ways. Specifically, CHP can:
- Improve energy efficiency by capturing heat that is typically wasted
- Advance our environmental goals by reducing emissions of harmful pollutants
- Diversify energy supply by enabling further integration of domestically-produced and renewable fuels
- Increase the resilience of our energy infrastructure by limiting congestion and offsetting transmission losses
- Enhance our energy security by reducing our national energy requirements and helping businesses weather energy price volatility and supply disruptions
- Improve business competitiveness by increasing energy efficiency and managing costs
Is there any potential, and are there real opportunities in my market?
CHP solutions provide efficient, reliable, and more affordable power for businesses and institutions. CHP is now installed at more than 4,400 commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities across the nation, improving energy efficiency, ensuring environmental quality, promoting economic growth, and fostering a more robust and resilient energy infrastructure. CHP systems today represent over 81 gigawatts (GW) – or almost 8% – of the nation’s total electricity capacity. The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Technical Potential in the United States market analysis report provides data on the technical potential in industrial facilities and commercial buildings for topping cycle CHP, waste heat to power CHP, and district energy CHP in the United States.
Is CHP a good fit for my facility?
The CHP Deployment Program provides stakeholders with the resources necessary to identify CHP market opportunities and support the implementation of CHP systems. DOE’s CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships (CHP TAPs) are available to answer your CHP questions. A new CHP TAPs fact sheet provides an overview of the CHP TAPs and highlights CHP success stories at Better Plants Partner sites.
Where has CHP been installed?
The U.S. Department of Energy database of CHP installations provides information about CHP systems currently operating in the United States including locations, organizations served, and facility characteristics. More than 200 CHP Project Profiles compiled by the CHP TAPs can be searched by state, CHP TAP, market sector, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, system size, technology/prime mover, fuel, thermal energy use, and year installed.
How can I learn about CHP technologies and applications?
Technology fact sheets explain the fundamentals and characteristics of CHP, including the following common CHP technologies and applications: fuel cells, gas turbines, microturbines, reciprocating engines, steam turbines, absorption chillers, microgrids, district energy, and thermal energy storage.
How can I learn about policies and programs impacting CHP deployment?
DOE's CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships (CHP TAPs) have developed a series of profiles describing current policies or programs impacting CHP deployment in their regions, including history of development, outcomes of successful policies, and lessons learned in implementation. These profiles highlight successful programs and best practices that can be used as models throughout the country.