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Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems

The CHP systems program aimed to facilitate acceptance of distributed energy in end-use sectors by forming partnerships with industry consortia in the commercial building, merchant stores, light industrial, supermarkets, restaurants, hospitality, health care and high-tech industries.

In high-tech industries such as telecommunications, commercial data processing and internet services, the use of electronic data and signal processing have become a cornerstone in the U.S. economy. These industries represent high potential for CHP and distributed energy due to their ultra-high reliability and power quality requirements and related large cooling loads. Projects currently underway in these markets include development of decision and design tools and integration of distributed energy technologies at customer sites to meet power and thermal needs and to quantify value (such as energy and emissions benefits, installation and retrofit costs, and high efficiency, reliability, etc.). Research and analysis results are disseminated through both meetings and as information and educational materials to affected industries, stakeholder groups, utilities and in state and regional government agencies. Cooling, Heating, and Power for Industry: A Market Assessment (PDF 991 KB).

At present, distributed energy equipment and thermally-activated equipment must be customized in a CHP system at each building site. This customization can translate into loss of overall efficiency and higher capital costs from on-site engineering. Integrated Energy Systems (IES) combine on-site power or distributed generation technologies with thermally activated technologies to provide cooling, heating, humidity control, energy storage and/or other process functions using thermal energy normally wasted in the production of electricity/power. IES have the potential to offer the nation the benefits of unprecedented energy efficiency gains, consumer choice, and energy security.

IES can therefore expand potential thermal energy services and thereby extend the conventional CHP market into building sector applications that could not be economically served by CHP alone. Now more than ever, these combined cooling, heating and humidity control systems can potentially decrease carbon and air pollutant emissions, while improving source energy efficiency in the buildings sector.