Photovoltaics is not a panacea for all energy-related problems. Just look at the sunshine levels in different months and days to realize that photovoltaics alone are not enough. We also have no control over providing electricity during peak demand hours in a company.
A much more efficient way to cover electricity supply from photovoltaics, especially during the hours when the capacity charge is in effect, is to use a cogeneration unit (CHP – Combined Heat and Power).
Cogeneration systems produce heat and electricity in the most efficient way during a single technological process, known as cogeneration. Cogeneration involves the production of electricity and the utilization of waste heat from the electricity generation process.
These systems have broad applications as distributed energy sources in industrial facilities. Due to the heat recovery from exhaust gases, cogeneration is a process that enables more efficient utilization of consumed fuel, making it a technology that brings significant financial and environmental benefits.
Szklarnie stanowią doskonały przykład wykorzystania kogeneracji, ponieważ podczas procesu grzewczego mogą jednocześnie produkować energię elektryczną do oświetlenia lub zasilania systemów nawadniania.
In most cases, cogeneration can be used in the energy system. However, the technical possibility of applying cogeneration is not always synonymous with its profitability (financial efficiency). We conduct a financial efficiency analysis based on hourly electricity consumption in real-time during the entire baseline year.
For the correct selection of CHP (Combined Heat and Power), it is necessary to determine whether the company plans to install photovoltaic (PV) panels. If so, the expected profile of electricity production from PV needs to be determined. Initially, the optimal capacity of the PV installation should be selected, and only after that, an analysis of the energy system with CHP should be conducted.
In most installations involving a cogeneration unit, there is a challenge of utilizing excess heat during the summer months. Therefore, the focus is often on trigeneration (CCHP – Combined Cooling, Heating, and Power) rather than just cogeneration. Trigeneration involves the collaboration of a cogeneration unit with an absorption chiller that converts the excess heat from CHP into cooling in the form of chilled water.
A good example of trigeneration utilization is manufacturing companies where, in addition to heating systems in the production process, a cooling process is also used. With trigeneration, you can obtain heat for space heating, electrical energy for powering production processes or lighting, and cooling for refrigeration or office spaces during the summer months.