Got carbon emissions? President Obama's plan has dramatically reduced carbon emission limits in the recent EPA Clean Power Plan, and set ambitious targets for meeting these limits. Fortunately, there are several tools available today to reduce emissions, including combined heat and power systems (CHP).
In traditional electricity generation, approximately two-thirds of the produced power is immediately lost as waste heat, which is rejected into the environment. But industrial facilities and commercial facilities such as hospitals and universities can use CHP systems to utilize this waste, recycling it into useful thermal energy. This consumes less fuel, increases efficiency by up to 80%, and reduces emissions.
Less fuel is combusted with CHP systems, reducing emissions and air pollutants and also generating cost savings. This acts as a hedge against volatile energy prices, protecting users from buying at peak periods. About 12 percent of the total electricity generated in the U.S. is through CHP systems, which provide layers of redundancy that increase reliability and resilience.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recently highlighted another energy option that can be combined with CHP – district energy systems. District energy systems produce and distribute energy through a central plant and can be combined with CHP systems to further reduce carbon emissions. In its latest report, the UNEP found that adopting modern district energy systems is the “most effective approach” to transitioning to sustainable energy.