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New Report Details Potential of Combined Heat and Power

December 2008 - Energy Efficiency


A new report identifies combined heat and power (CHP) as a realistic solution to enhance national energy efficiency, ensure environmental quality, promote economic growth, and foster a robust energy infrastructure.

The report, Combined Heat and Power: Effective Energy Solutions for a Sustainable Future, from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) provides an in-depth discussion of current opportunities and challenges to more widespread national CHP deployment, and it sets the stage for future policy dialogue aimed at promoting this clean-energy solution.

According to the report, if CHP represented 20 percent of the U.S. generating capacity by 2030, benefits would include:

• a 60 percent reduction of the projected increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030, the equivalent of removing 154 million cars from the road
• fuel savings of 5.3 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) annually, the equivalent of nearly one-half the total energy used by U.S. households
• economically viable application throughout the nation for institutional facilities, campuses, commercial buildings, large and small industrial facilities, and multi-family and single-family housing
• the creation of 1 million highly-skilled green-collar jobs through 2030 and $234 billion in new investments throughout the United States.

Also known as cogeneration, CHP is the concurrent production and use of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy from a single fuel source. CHP includes a suite of technologies that can use a variety of fuels to generate electricity or power at the point of use, allowing heat normally lost to be recovered to provide needed heating or cooling. By using CHP today, the United States already reduces fuel use by more than 1.9 quadrillion Btus and avoids the annual release of CO2 emissions equivalent to removing more than 45 million cars from the road.

The report is a joint effort between the Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and involved substantial input and review by a range of industry, association, and non-governmental stakeholders.

To view the report or to learn more about the ITP’s CHP activities, visit ITP’s Industrial Distributed Energy Web site.





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