Generally, the electricity and thermal energy that we use every day are produced separately:
• Electricity comes mostly from large thermoelectric plants that disperse part of their energy into the environment: this, being at low temperature, is thermal energy of low thermodynamic value.
• Thermal energy is produced through conventional boilers that convert primary energy contained in fuels, and of high-value thermodynamic energy, into thermal energy of reduced thermodynamic value.
If you require electricity and thermal energy simultaneously, cogeneration can be used. Cogeneration (CHP - Combined Heat and Power) is the combined production of electricity - or mechanical - and thermal energy (heat) in a single process, produced in special plants that use natural gas or biogas as a source.
Cogeneration plants bring significant benefits, both in terms of energy and in environmental terms.
The environmental benefits are significant, as CO2 emissions are drastically reduced due to lower consumption of fossil fuels. That is why CHP is fully part of the sustainable energy policy, in line with the objectives of the European Union " 20-20-20" and with other Community provisions for environmental protection.
We therefore have a reduced environmental impact, due to both the reduction of emissions and less waste heat released into the environment (less air pollution and less thermal pollution).
The efficiency of a simple process is the relationship between the energy stored at the end of the process, and energy input. Since cogeneration systems produce both electricity and heat, their total efficiency is given as the sum of electric efficiency and thermal efficiency. For example, a plant that uses 100 MW of methane to produce 40 MW of electricity and 40 MW of thermal power has electrical and thermal efficiency of 40% and an overall efficiency of 80%.
Cogeneration, featuring energy efficiency as its main characteristic, also represents a cost saving, due to:
• reduction in fuel consumption
• lower transmission and distribution losses for the national electricity system , resulting from the location of the plants near the users catchment areas or from self-consumption of the energy produced
• replacement of less efficient and more polluting modes of heat supply (boilers , both civil and industrial, characterized by lower levels of efficiency , high environmental impact and lack of flexibility regarding the use of fuels).
In summary, a properly sized cogeneration plant allows high energy savings in the order of 25-40%, which translate into economic benefits in the management of the facilities.
Cogeneration and trigeneration, which is the combined production of electricity, thermal energy (heat) and cooling energy, are considered a strategic choice for those companies who see energy efficiency as an essential opportunity to reduce production costs and / or exercise and increase their competitiveness.
The cogeneration service that Heat and Power provides does not eliminate existing supplies, but integrates them in a way that varies from case to case. The service is provided in ESCo mode , which means that Heat and Power installs the machinery, which remains its property, manages it and produces electric , thermic and cooling energy.
The client does not need to invest anything and buys from H&P the electric, thermic and cooling energy produced by the plant, thus obtaining an economic advantage.
At zero cost, the system can guarantee the customer a prime power line in the event of a power outage.
The user doesn’t need to worry about anything; installation, management and maintenance are all taken care of by H&P.
Payments and commercial dealings are dealt with through simple bills.
Before making its proposal, Heat and Power performs an analysis of energy consumption (electricity and gas) and their current cost. Then a thorough technical inspection is carried out on the plant. Finally, H&P confirms the feasibility of the intervention and formulates a proposal.
Once installed and operational, the production of the CHP can be monitored by the customer via the Internet at any time through the H&P’s website and is communicated by means of a periodic report that shows:
• the energy produced ( electric, thermal and cooling )
• the savings achieved
• the environmental benefits generated in terms of CO2 not emitted into the atmosphere