Co-generation, otherwise known as CHP (Combined Heat and Power) means the generation of both electricity and heat from the same primary energy source.
This dual means of energy production is an important way of achieving high energy efficiency for consumers who use both thermal and electrical energy, and would like to control their consumption themselves. Installing a third device, known as an absorption cooler, would result in tri-generation – that is the combined production of thermal energy, cooling energy and electricity.
The greatest advantage of cogeneration lies in the fact that combined energy production has far higher overall energy efficiency, which in turn leads to savings in primary energy sources, as well as to cost reductions and lower emissions. The primary energy source could be gas or even biomass. Although the latter technology, in its current stage of development, still has some limitations in terms of the economies of scale that can be achieved, these limitations look set to diminish over time, which is precisely why we intend to focus on biomass-fuelled cogeneration in the future.
Approximately two-thirds of the waste heat produced during traditional electricity generation can be utilised in the process of cogeneration. This puts the efficiency of this type of installation at 80-90%, while traditional gas-based electricity generation is only 30-35% efficient.
Once the generated thermal energy has been converted into steam and hot water, there are serious difficulties involved in transporting it over long distances. For this reason, CHP power plants are decentralised, and situated where they can satisfy local energy needs – primarily local thermal energy needs such as the cooling and heating of buildings, water heating and district heating supply. Unlike heat, the electricity that is produced can be transported if the producer feeds it directly into the electricity supply grid.
In Hungary, gas engines have acquired some negative associations due to the changes in the system of feed-in tariffs. Our Company, however, is capable of efficiently constructing these cogeneration systems based on alternative fuels, with which we primarily serve the heat market as opposed to the electricity market.
CHP technology, then, can be powered by gas engines, gas turbines, biomass or fuel cells.
The advantages of using cogeneration technology are:
• Good efficiency
• Energy savings
• Independent, decentralised energy production
• Regulated, flexible use
• Environmentally friendly