Combined Heat and Power (Cogeneration)

Conventional electric power generation is only about 40 percent efficient—it leaves large amounts of waste heat. Cogeneration (also called combined heat and power, or CHP) is the use of this waste heat for heating buildings, providing hot water, and applying to industrial uses. The CHP cycle is about 80 percent efficient, obtaining twice as much energy from the same amount of fuel as conventional electrical generation. In the short to midterm, cogeneration promises to save significant amounts of fossil fuels. It is a transition technology, making better use of fossil fuel sources that provide very intense heat, but eventually it will become unsustainable as fossil fuel stocks (oil, gas, and coal) decline.

The concept of cogeneration is more familiar than most people think, for every automobile ...

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