Large Plant Electric & Process Heating Requirements
Often called Co-Generation, Combined Heat & Power (CH&P) Systems can provide all or a portion of electric power (onsite) and process heat (steam or hot water) at the same time. Absorption Cooling Chillers can also be powered from the heat. In other words, CH&P can provide both electric power and process heat from the same fuel. Because the generation efficiency of this type system uses all the waste heat thrown off from the generation of electricity, this power generation cycle is in the 90% efficiency range. This 90% efficiency is on average over twice the efficiency of normal electric utilities whose generation cycle efficiency is more in the 40% range. The reason electric utilities are in the 40% range is they throw away their heat of generation. A good example is nuclear plants that utilize giant cooling towers to dump their heat from their nuclear generators. Because of the big difference in generation efficiencies above, electric utility costs can be lower with CH&P since the natural gas costs to provide steam and hot water are eliminated. Therefore, where a CH&P System is utilized, lower overall utility costs can be guaranteed for the customer by the company making the CH&P installation, even if this company finances and pays for the total turnkey costs.
CH&P has been utilized for over 100 years and can be run on natural gas or even Syn Gas. Presently there is over 90,000 MW of installed CH&P capacity in the United States which amounts to approximately 10% of all the electric power generating capacity in the U.S. To be noted, presently the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. along with several House of Representative Buildings are presently being served by a 25 MW CH&P System.