COMBINED HEAT AND POWER (CHP)
HARBEC has researched and developed a plan that would help the company become more efficient and more ecologically correct. A significant part of the solution is called cogeneration, a highly efficient means of generating heat and electric power simultaneously from the same energy source. In other words, the exhaust heat from generating electricity replaces fossil fuel (oil, coal, or natural gas) combustion. This is heat that would normally be discharged into lakes and rivers or the atmosphere in the current process of traditional utility power generation.
Combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration offers the potential to reach efficiencies that triple, or even quadruple, conventional power generation. Although it has been a possibility for nearly a century, in the mid-1980’s relatively low natural gas prices made it a widely attractive alternative for new power generation.
To understand cogeneration, it is necessary to know that most conventional power generation is based on burning a fuel to produce steam. It is the pressure of the steam that actually turns the turbines and generates power, in an inherently inefficient process. Cogeneration, in contrast, makes use of the excess heat, usually in the form of relatively hot water exhausted from the power generation turbines. This hot water is suitable for a wide range of heating applications and effectively displaces the combustion of carbon-based fuels, with all their negative environmental implications. The heat potential can also be used to air condition with the help of absorptive chiller technology.
The environmental implications of cogeneration stem not just from its inherent efficiency, but also from its decentralized character. Because it is impractical to transport heat over any distance, cogeneration equipment must be located physically close to its heat user. A number of environmentally positive consequences flow from this fact. Power tends to be generated close to the power consumer, significantly reducing transmission losses, stray current, and the need for distribution equipment. In recent years new methods of using this Cogen/CHP potential have been developing.
Efficient energy usage through cogeneration: The co-generation process produces both electricity and heat (hot water or steam) at the same time. It is much more efficient than a single-purpose generating system because it extracts much more usable energy from the same fuel. In the most common form of utility type electric generation, fossil fuels are burned in a boiler to heat water. The steam produced by this process drives a turbine attached to an electric generator, which converts this energy into electricity. The excess heat is usually released into the atmosphere via stacks or cooling towers, or into a river or lake. As a result, most of the energy contained in the fuel source is wasted. With co-generation, the excess heat is captured for use in an existing heating and cooling system. The overall efficiency improves when the thermal energy from exhaust is used to heat and cool buildings. This heat or thermal potential can also be used as process heat when needed in manufacturing, which will increase fuel use efficiency even more.
CHP represents an opportunity to make significant progress toward meeting our Kyoto commitments on greenhouse gas reductions. The local air quality improvement and opportunities for economic growth presented by CHP are equally compelling. CHP presents an opportunity to improve the “bottom line” for businesses and public organizations, while also providing a path for improving the environment. HARBEC believes the private sector should actively pursue adoption of CHP – both for “bottom-line” economic and environmental benefits.
HARBEC regards sustainability as absolutely critical to the future of our business, and we believe that our success in the pursuit of it, will improve our competitive advantage by insuring our efficiency. Sustainability can be a cost effective opportunity for business today which insures a viable and comparable world to live in for future generations.
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The Future Co-generation or Combined Heat and Power can contribute to the transformation of the United States energy future. CHP offers significant economic advantages for energy efficiency improvement and emissions reductions. Our existing system of centralized electricity generation charts an unsustainable energy path with increasing fuel consumption and carbon emissions, while continuing to squander over two-thirds of the energy contained in the fuel. At least half of this wasted energy could be recaptured if we shift from centralized generation to distributed systems that co-generate power and thermal energy. CHP represents an opportunity to make significant progress toward meeting the Kyoto guidelines on greenhouse gas reductions. The local air quality improvements and the opportunities for economic growths presented by CHP are equally compelling. CHP presents an opportunity to improve the “bottom line” for businesses and public organizations, while also providing a path for improving the environment. The primary barriers to greater CHP use are regulatory and institutional, not technical or economic. The private sector must work with government regulators and policy makers to insure that competition and incentives for innovation are preserved, while creating a favorable regulatory environment for CHP and Distributed Generation (DG). HARBEC believes the private sector should actively pursue adoption of CHP -both for “bottom-line” economic and for environmental benefits.
CHP Project application features:
- 17,000′ of 1″ Diameter tubing for radiant floor heating
- Air-to-water heat exchanger delivers hot and cold water to the rest of the building’s HVAC system and uses high efficiency Air Sox to deliver conditioned air.
- Computer controlled sensing and delivery system
- 5 Heat exchangers 1 unit per four microturbines used to extract heat (thermal energy) from the exhaust gas and put it into water for heating and air-conditioning requirements
- 1 Absorptive Chiller Converts 210° water to 44°-47° water for use in air-conditioning with no additional fuel costs