A versatile and efficient technology for the energy transition
Combined heat and power (CHP) refers to the simultaneous generation of electrical energy (electricity) and thermal energy (heat). The heat can be used as local or district heat to supply hot water and space heating in buildings (combined heat and power plant) or process heat in industrial applications (industrial power plant).
CHP is considered particularly efficient since it uses electricity to both generate electricity and supply heat at the same time. Fuel efficiencies are more than 85 per cent. Natural gas is currently the primary fuel used. To make the heat supply from CHP climate-neutral, it will be necessary to switch from natural gas to green gas in the future. Hydrogen will also play a decisive role in heat supply.
Various technologies in different output sizes are available for cogeneration:
Until renewable energy can guarantee supply security, former power plants should be converted into flexible and efficient gas-fired power plants. It is a good idea to convert sites with existing heating grids into CHP plants. This can further increase efficiency. These CHP plants must also be built in such a way that they can be converted to climate-neutral gases in the future.
CHP is an important technology for sector coupling and can increase the flexibility of the energy supply system in addition to energy-efficient power and heat supply. For example, CHP can be linked to a controllable overall system through heat storage and power-to-heat. Such a system can help to balance out the fluctuating power supply from renewable sources. If these systems are also combined with a renewable heat source, they are called innovative combined heat and power (iCHP).
NRW.Energy4Climate supports the transformation towards a climate-neutral and secure energy system of the future. To accomplish this, it is bringing together the important stakeholders in the field of cogeneration and initiating projects on supply-secure and climate-friendly power plants and iCHP.