Cogeneration and Energy Efficiency

cogeneration of heat and power

The opening paragraphs of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) emphasise the priority that is given to energy efficiency in the EU’s environmental strategy. To quote: “One of the initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy is the flagship resource-efficient Europe adopted by the Commission on 26 January 2011. This identifies energy efficiency as a major element in ensuring the sustainability of the use of energy resources.”

The ErP (Energy-related Products) regulations have been the primary focus of this blog and play an important role in this strategy, reducing energy consumption produced by a wide range of products. However, these ErP efficiency standards form part of a number of complementary initiatives that drive forward ambitions for a carbon-neutral future.

The Energy Efficiency Directive urged member states to assess opportunities for the promotion of cogeneration as a highly effective means of generating power while also capturing waste energy for heating. In a useful guidance titled “Cogeneration of Heat and Power” it was estimated that cogeneration plants could achieve energy efficiency levels of around 90%. The article also advised that small cogeneration facilities could “also be an effective way to supply energy to remote areas without the need for expensive grid infrastructure.”

However, with advances in technology and increasing interest from industry and commerce, the potential market for small cogeneration units has greatly increased beyond their application in remote and rural areas.

A rising force in energy supply

Schwank has launched a range of cogeneration units that can be an ideal means of generating electricity and providing heat for industrial and commercial buildings. These products also have the potential of meeting the requirements of a range of other applications such as supplying efficient sources of energy for schools and hospitals.

Giving the estimate of a likely 20% of generated energy being supplied by CHP and other cogeneration solutions by the year 2025, Schwank explains that: “A cogeneration unit is the ideal solution for all those who want to reduce long-term energy costs and disconnect themselves from further rises in electricity prices.”

When combined with the environmental benefits of energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction, cogeneration has tremendous benefits to offer and has a great potential as an increasingly important element in energy supply.