Cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), has long been seen as one of the most efficient energy production solutions. But when exactly does it become profitable?
What is cogeneration?
In traditional power plants, the thermal energy generated during electricity production is often wasted. Instead, cogeneration allows for the simultaneous generation of both electricity and heat, thereby increasing overall energy efficiency.
The key to the profitability of cogeneration is the ability to fully utilize the recovered heat. During the winter months, this heat can be used for heating buildings, production halls, or other spaces. However, the real financial benefits come when we can effectively use this heat even during the summer months.
During the summer season, the recovered heat can be transformed into cooling using absorption chillers, which provide cooling to buildings or industrial processes. Another approach is generating steam for industrial purposes where it’s essential for various processes.
When is cogeneration cost-effective?
Therefore, cogeneration becomes cost-effective primarily for those businesses that have a constant demand for heat or cooling throughout the year. By utilizing recovered heat not only in winter but also in summer, these businesses can significantly reduce their energy bills.
One must not forget the environmental aspect as well. Thanks to the higher energy efficiency of cogeneration, the emission of harmful greenhouse gases is significantly lower compared to traditional methods of energy production. This means that investing in cogeneration not only brings financial benefits but also contributes to environmental protection.
In summary, cogeneration becomes cost-effective when we can make the most of the recovered heat throughout the year. For businesses with a continuous demand for thermal energy and cooling, this technology can bring significant financial and environmental benefits.