A Canadian cleantech company, Thermal Energy International Inc., is targeting the attractive cogeneration market with a super-efficient combined heat and power (CHP or cogeneration) solution for industrial and institutional markets. By combining its proprietary FLU-ACE heat recovery technology with existing power generation technologies, the company is able to offer the market a solution that represents a dramatic energy efficiency improvement over typical cogeneration systems widely available.
Industrial sectors have long been the guiltiest of wasting energy. Most fossil fuel-burning plants that produce electricity, as well as many industrial users of such electricity, release large amounts of waste heat into the environment as an unwanted by-product. With cogeneration however, those same plants and manufacturing operations can capture this heat energy and get more use out of it.
Cogeneration is an inherently high-efficiency family of technologies to use fossil or renewable fuels to supply energy locally. Basically, cogeneration is the production of two types of energy at a single plant. Cogeneration systems decrease total fuel consumption and related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by generating both electricity and useful heat from the same fuel input. While not really an energy source itself, cogeneration (also known as combined heat and power, or CHP for short), squeezes more usable energy out of each unit of fuel most everywhere it is applied.
Thermal Energy’s FLU-ACE system is a direct contact condensing heat recovery system that recovers the waste heat from the exhausts on boilers, dryers and other industrial heat sources. The recovered energy can be used for example, to pre-heat makeup water, heat Domestic Hot Water (DHW), or be used for heating systems etc. In addition, this also reduces greenhouse gases and helps work towards energy reduction targets.
Typical cogeneration systems can produce combustion efficiencies of as high as 75% (compared to 35% to 45% for a combined-cycle gas turbine plant). By combining a typical cogeneration unit with Thermal Energy’s FLU-ACE technology efficiencies can now be pushed as high as 95%.
“We are in a unique position to capitalize on the increasing popularity of combined heat and power systems by providing enhanced levels of efficiency not provided by typical cogeneration project developers,” – William Crossland, CEO of Thermal Energy.
Key Benefits of a FLU-ACE Augmented Cogeneration Project:
- Up to 70% reduction in electricity costs;
- Up to 95% energy utilization efficiency;
- 15% to 20% natural gas energy savings;
- Additional 15% to 20% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to typical CHP systems;
- In the event of a blackout, the cogeneration unit works as a backup source securing the supply of energy so there is no danger of electricity supply being interrupted;
- Verifiable emission reduction credits (ERCs)
- Typical net project payback of two to five years.
Thermal Energy’s solutions are not limited to the traditional cogeneration system where only the electricity and heat is used. The company can also provide a tri-generation solution that produces electricity, usable heat and chilled water. In the hotter periods of the year where the availability of heat sinks are diminished, energy from the CHP can be used to generate chilled water, thus offering additional energy savings. Thermal Energy can also provide a hybrid energy solution where cogeneration or tri-generation is combined, for example with solar power generation. These systems are well-suited for locations where power demand peaks during peak solar production periods (such as power demand from chillers for air conditioning).
Manufacturing operations and other industrial process plants, hospitals, universities and other institutions with a year-round need for both electrical power and steam are candidates for cogeneration. In areas where the relative cost of purchased electricity versus a readily available fossil fuel like natural gas is favorable, cogeneration can satisfy much of a facility’s electricity and heating needs at a substantially lower cost than traditional means. In addition, with absorption chilling, cooling loads can also be met with waste heat from on-site power generation (this is known as trigeneration).
For many industrial and institutional operations, cogeneration is an energy solution that can save money, improve energy reliability and security, while reducing the facility’s carbon footprint. However, there are a few important considerations before going forward with a cogeneration project. Each project has its own unique drivers such as redundancy, maximum kilowatt capability, pollution issues, reliability of steam or kilowatt supply. An assessment by Thermal Energy’s qualified engineering team can help you determine whether cogeneration should play a part in the energy solution for your facility.
For More Information
This post has been sponsored by Thermal Energy International, Inc.