Alternative Energy

What is Cogeneration?

Cogeneration is the use of a single source of energy to produce two or more forms of valuable energy, such as electricity and heat. The technology has been used since 1882 in manufacturing and waste management industries. As an alternative to traditional power generation methods, cogeneration can help businesses reduce their carbon emissions while also generating income from surplus heat that would be wasted otherwise.

Cogeneration is an optimal fuel source that makes it possible to get more out of the fuel while reducing the carbon footprint. The energy solution is proving to be a viable option when it’s currently not possible to immediately discontinue the use of fossil fuels.

The Cogeneration Process

Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of thermal energy and electricity. This is done through a process called cogeneration, which is also referred to as combined heat and power (CHP). The U.S. Department of Energy defines CHP as “a process in which energy is produced by capturing waste heat from industrial or other processes and converting it into useful thermal energy.”

Cogeneration systems produce electricity and heat in one process, eliminating what would otherwise be wasted energy (i.e., thermal). Cogeneration systems use heat that would have been lost during electricity production via steam cycles or gas turbines. This means less burning of natural gas or fossil fuels for electricity production.

Cogeneration systems are often used with industrial facilities such as factories or chemical plants because they can provide onsite power needs while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the same time.

How Does It Work?

Cogeneration is a process that produces two forms of energy, typically electricity and heat. A natural gas or diesel engine powers a generator to produce electricity, and the exhaust from the engine is used to heat water.

Cogeneration is a practice of efficient energy use. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions by using low-cost waste heat from industrial processes, producing more power than possible with just one fuel source — in this case, natural gas or diesel fuel.

A cogenerated facility can reduce its carbon footprint by 15-20%. The only waste from a cogeneration facility is exhausted air from the engine that powers its generator.

What Are The Benefits of Cogeneration?

Replacing fossil fuels with cleaner-burning natural gas, biogas, or biomass can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is especially true if there is a large enough generator to produce electricity for the entire facility.

If a facility already has an onsite power plant, cogeneration can increase the overall efficiency of its system by up to 40 percent — and added efficiency means significantly lower operating costs as well.

Cogeneration also has environmental benefits in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 60 percent compared with conventional fossil fuel combustion systems.

Cogeneration can also help reduce the reliance on imported fuels by using more of the waste resources that are available locally. This will save money while reducing the environmental impact of transporting fuels worldwide.

Which Applications and Industries Benefit From Adopting Cogeneration?

Cogeneration is an energy-efficient and cost-effective solution for many industrial applications. It can help improve the bottom line for many industries, including food and beverage production, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, semiconductor processing, oil refining and distribution, mining (coal or metals), cement production, paper mills, and pulp mills.

Cogeneration can help reduce emissions in factories and industrial sites by lowering their overall power usage — and, therefore, their electricity bill. This also means less greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants or other power generation sources. In addition, cogeneration can help factories produce electricity or sell it back to local utilities.

The Increased Use of Cogeneration

Cogeneration is a powerful and efficient way of generating electricity used to power homes and factories, reduce carbon emissions, and save money on fuel costs.

Many countries worldwide have adopted it into their energy infrastructure because of the current high need and demand for clean power sources.