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Combined Heat and Power Systems


Combined heat and power (CHP) systems provide on-site electric power, heating, and cooling from a single fuel source. This power generation technology is also called cogeneration.

Conventional power generation plants cannot always utilize the waste heat they produce. In contrast, CHP systems recover that waste heat and use it to operate industrial processes, heat domestic hot water, or provide space heating and cooling.

Common CHP equipment includes reciprocating engines, microturbines, steam turbines, and gas turbines. Typical CHP customers may include industrial, commercial, institutional, and multifamily facilities; however, it is critical that the site has a strong need for thermal energy throughout the year.

Benefits of CHP

CHP systems offer many benefits when appropriately matched to a building’s use and size. The use of CHP is growing due to increasing demand for energy efficiency, operating flexibility, grid outage resiliency, and the potential reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

CHP systems are more fuel efficient than centralized (or grid-based) power generation in that CHP recycles valuable heat to produce power where it can be used. In contrast, although minimal, there are some losses when grid-based electricity is transmitted over long distances.

Designed to operate every day, CHP systems may be more reliable than traditional emergency back-up generators during grid outages. This resiliency might make them a good option for multifamily buildings. The ability to produce electricity and heat during grid outages is also advantageous for critical care facilities including nursing homes and hospitals. A site-specific, detailed analysis should be conducted before committing to purchase a CHP system.

In the Summer of 2019, an isolated blackout in Manhattan provided a real-world test of the resiliency of CHP systems. Energy & Resource Solutions, a consulting engineering company under contract with NYSERDA analyzed this event and summarized their findings in this report. Blackout Provides Real-World Test for Resilient DERs [PDF].

Installing CHP Systems

Engage with the experts at the US Department of Energy's CHP Technical Assistance Partnership (TAP) Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. to find out if your facility is a good candidate for CHP. The CHP TAP of NY/NJ can provide free technical assistance and help you navigate the DOE eCatalog of Recognized Packaged CHP Systems Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.. The eCatalog contains CHP Packagers who commit to provide pre-engineered and tested Packaged CHP systems that meet or exceed DOE performance requirements, and CHP Solution Providers who commit to provide responsible installation, commissioning, maintenance and service of recognized Packaged CHP systems and also provide a single point of project responsibility.

Visit our Distributed Energy Resources WebsiteLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. to learn more about CHP and other distributed energy resource technologies, their locations within NYS, and their system performance relative to similar installations.