New Thinking for Greater Efficiency: Combined Heat and Power (CHP)
There are many reasons which speak for using energy as efficiently as possible. The combined production of power, that is to say electricity, and useful heat on the basis of natural gas in cogeneration plants (CHP plants) is considered to be one of the most effective ways of using valuable resources in a sustainable and economical manner. At the same time, the impact of using energy on the environment and climate must be mitigated as far as possible. Thanks to their high energy efficiency, CHP plants can help to achieve these goals. This innovative technology also finds a great deal of government support. For example, one of the aims of the German government’s Integrated Energy and Climate Programme (IEKP) is to double the share of electricity produced in cogeneration plants in total German power generation to roughly 25% by 2020.
Highly efficient natural gas-based CHP plants have already proved their worth as energy-saving technology in the large and medium rating ranges in industry or in business enterprises, in swimming baths or hotels for many years now. However, small appliances - so-called micro-CHP plants - are still in the development or market introduction phases. Nevertheless, the point-of-use combined generation of power and heat does offer great potential, particularly in single and two-family houses, both for energy saving and for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Micro-CHP heating appliances are therefore also considered to be the successor technology of the modern gas condensing boiler heating systems, which today represent the state-of-the-art, above all in combination with solar thermal energy.