Combined heat and power holds a promising future for U.S. energy needs

The U.S Clean Heat & Power Association (USCHPA) wrapped up its annual conference last week in Washington, D.C., exploring the future of combined heat and power (CHP) within the industry’s ever-changing environment.

The conference was especially timely, given President Obama’s executive order on industrial efficiency and CHP and the inclusion of key industrial energy efficiency provisions from the Shaheen-Portman bill in Sen. Bingaman’s legislation that just passed the Senate.

Leading the discussion was Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy with the Department of Energy, and Bruce Hedman, vice president of ICF International.

Why CHP?

Since 31 percent of energy in the United States is used in industry applications, removing barriers to the deployment of energy efficiency technologies will lead to significant energy savings.

CHP technologies save building and industry owners more than $5 billion a year and decrease energy use by nearly 1.3 trillion BTUs a year, according to USCHPA.

The business of chemistry is a leader and innovator in industrial energy efficiency. Expansion of CHP capacity has received broad support from environmental, labor and business groups, including ACC.

Chemical makers and many other manufacturers use natural gas to create two forms of energy — steam and electricity — for industrial facilities. With CHP, this energy is generated close to where it is needed, so little is lost in transmission.

CHP can produce energy twice as efficiently as older coal-burning electric utilities.

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