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Cogeneration

Cogeneration or Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is the combined generation of heat and power.

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What is Cogeneration?

Cogeneration or Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is the combined generation of heat and power. It is not a single technology, but an integrated energy system1. Cogeneration first involves producing power from a specific fuel source, such as natural gasbiomasscoal, or oil. During fuel combustion, cogeneration captures the excess heat which would have otherwise been wasted.

The captured heat can be used to boil water, create steam, heat buildings, etc. For instance, in the oil sands, steam is required to produce bitumen.  By using cogeneration, energy companies can simultaneously produce steam for production and electricity on site. By minimizing waste, cogeneration plants generally convert 75-80% of the fuel source into useable energy, in comparison with conventional systems which only covert about 45%2.

When the heat captured is used to produce electricity, the process is referred to as combined cycle.

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Cogeneration has multiple economic and environmental benefits. By reducing the amount of fuel needed to generate electricity and heat, companies that use cogeneration increase self-sufficiency, decrease costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants.

Globally, cogeneration is becoming more widely adopted for meeting heat and electricity needs. Cogeneration technologies provide over 11% of electricity needs in Europe3. China and India are expected to increase power production through cogeneration by 28% before 20302. Cost-efficiency improvements and demand for climate change mitigation will increase the adoption of cogeneration.

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