Combined Heat and Power

Cooling towers

The Search of Renewable Energy

Whether mass flooding in the UK, bushfires in Australia and the US or melting ice sheets in our polar regions, the one irrefutable takeaway from our current plethora of environmental disasters is that climate change is here and is happening. Even the most adamant apologists of the fossil fuel industry can no longer ignore or explain away this reality and some experts warn that the planet could reach the point of no return much sooner than even the most pessimistic reports predict. 

The search for clean, renewable energy, then, has become the greatest challenge of our age. With natural supplies of oil, coal and gas quickly running out, the race to find more efficient and sustainable forms of energy has been ongoing for decades. But it is the effect of climate change and global warming, the causative effects of centuries of burning fossil fuels that has given this search renewed urgency.

CHP and Power Plants

Traditional power stations (that is to say, non-nuclear ones) are a particular contributor to greenhouse emissions due to the highly inefficient way in which they function. These ageing power plants produce electricity by burning fossil fuels (usually coal or natural gas) to heat water which, in turn, is converted to steam. This then powers the turbines that generate our electricity.

This process is still used to generate 80-90 percent of the world's electricity. Yet, it is highly wasteful because the steam generated (and so the heat) is then simply dispersed into the atmosphere using giant cooling towers. But what if that heat could be harnessed and reused? This is precisely where Combined Heat and Power (CHP) comes in. Also known as Cogeneration, CHP essentially means that both electricity and heat are produced in the same process, with the latter being a bi-product of the former.

In its simplest usage, CHP captures heat that would otherwise be wasted and redistributes it via insulated pipe networks to provide useful thermal energy for local buildings. Although CHP is not a completely renewable solution (fossil fuel is still required in the initial process), it nonetheless means that the efficiency of a traditional power station can be improved by up to 80%. This is of critical importance going forward, since we are likely to be dependent on these old power stations for at least the forseeable future..

To start saving energy, money (and the planet!), browse through our list of top rated CHP suppliers below.