Combined heat and power (CHP) systems got a big boost this week when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handed out its latest ENERGY STAR awards. Eastman Chemical Company and Merck were among the companies recognized for “their highly efficient CHP systems.”
Also known as cogeneration, CHP is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from the same source. The chemical industry is a longtime leader in this innovative, energy-saving technology. It has the largest share of CHP capacity in the U.S. today, at 29 percent, and accounts for nearly a third of all CHP used in manufacturing.
Those aren’t just factoids that will come in handy on Trivia Night. They show how CHP systems can and should be deployed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity generation.
In announcing the awards, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recognized the valuable role that CHP can play:
The CHP technology offers a strategy to help meet the goals of the President’s Climate Action Plan for a cleaner power sector while boosting the efficiency and competitiveness for many U.S. manufacturers.
As the Administration develops plans to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, EPA should fully support the use of CHP.
Meanwhile, states must enact policies that encouraged more combined heat and power at industrial facilities. Some states have policies that discourage industrial operators from selling their excess power back to the electricity grid. According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, CHP could be used to produce up to 20 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, so states need to act soon.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy points out that energy efficiency, including CHP, will be a great way to help meet rising energy demand and reduce GHG emissions while keeping energy affordable and reliable:
Energy efficiency, and combined heat and power (CHP) in particular, represents significant near-term opportunities to make highly cost-effective investments in new energy resources that can more cleanly and efficiently meet the nation’s demand for electricity.
ACC congratulates Merck and Eastman – true leaders that are helping to show that CHP is ready for prime time.