Waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) are a good place to apply cogeneration. In WWTPs, organic waste accumulates during the water treatment process and produces a biogas containing methane. CHP units can efficiently burn this biogas to generate the power and heat. This allows the waste water treatment plants to use the energy produced for their own needs. This increases the energy efficiency of the operation, reduces the greenhouse gas emissions and the waste organic material is treated efficiently. CHP units in the waste water treatment plants contribute to the sustainability of the energy system and improve the environmental impact of the operation.
District heating plants are suitable facilities for the application of cogeneration. CHP units in the district heating plants can generate power to the grid in a highly efficient manner while supplying heat to the surrounding households or industrial facilities. Generation in the consumption site reduces energy losses and operating costs. In addition, by being able to respond quickly to the changes in the power and heat demand, cogeneration contributes to the energy stability and sustainability of urban infrastructures. CHP units in the district heating plants also reduce CO2 emissions which has a positive impact on the environment.
The biogas plant is an ideal facility for the application of cogeneration. The plant processes organic waste or plant residues and produces a biogas containing methane therefrom. The CHP unit can efficiently burn this biogas and produce the power and heat at the same time. This increases the energy efficiency of the operation. The process itself reduces greenhouse gas emissions and strengthens the sustainability of the energy system. The biogas plant in conjunction with cogeneration promotes the clean energy while recycling organic waste, which has a positive impact on the environment. In addition, the residual material serves as fertilizer.
The combination of the CHP unit and the heat pump will increase the thermal and overall efficiency of the CHP unit itself. This increase is approximately 3 % depending in a specific installation. The heat pump makes use of a low potential heat from the filling mixture cooling circuit which will be utilized fully due to the temperature increase. This solution has the dual benefit of eliminating the need to install an outdoor aftercooler and more heat is used.
Battery systems can be another source in the energy mix that works well with the cogeneration technology. CHP units produce the power and heat simultaneously. Batteries can collect the excess power that is not used for an immediate consumption and store it for later use. This maximizes the use of the power generated from cogeneration and increases the energy independence. Battery systems can also react quickly to fluctuations in the energy demand, increasing the grid stability. The cooperation of these technologies contributes to an increased flexibility in the electric power supply.
CHP units are a great complement to the photovoltaic panels in power systems. During the summer, when the photovoltaic panels generate electric power from sunlight and not as much heat is needed, the CHP units may not be used at all or only to a limited extent. However, in winter, when the efficiency of PV panels decreases, it is cogeneration that can generate the energy needed instead. The combination of these technologies increases the energy efficiency and overall performance of the system, as well as its flexibility. This combination provides the operator with a continuous supply of energy and reduces its energy costs.
CHP units bring innovation to the energy sector by being able, in addition to natural gas and various types of biogas, to use hydrogen for their operation. However, despite the advantages of green hydrogen, the high cost of hydrogen infrastructure is a major obstacle to its massive use. One of the solutions for using hydrogen in cogeneration is to blend it into natural gas. With a concentration of up to 20%, existing gas pipelines can be used without major modifications. This allows CHP units to use hydrogen now, again increasing the flexibility and energy efficiency of these plants. In addition, the combination of hydrogen and cogeneration opens the way to a more sustainable and lower-emission energy future.
Biomethane fueling CHP units represent an alternative in the use of biogas. Biomethane, obtained from the organic materials such as agricultural residues, landfill gas or organic waste, is used as a fuel for the CHP units after its thorough purification. They can burn the gas efficiently to produce the power and heat with low CO2 emissions. Biomethane is thus a valuable renewable energy source, the use of which minimizes the environmental impact of the production process of heat and power.
Sewage gas-fired CHP units play an important role in the treatment and energy recovery of the waste sludge in the waste water treatment plants. The sewerage gas is a by-product of the anaerobic digestion of an organic sludge in these plants. CHP units convert this gas efficiently into the power and heat. In this way, the waste sludge becomes a useful source of energy, which increases the energy efficiency of the waste water treatment plants and reduces their operating costs. In addition, this also minimizes the greenhouse gas emissions.