Combined heat and power (CHP), or cogeneration, is the simultaneous production of useful heat and electricity from a single source, close to the point of use. Large scale CHP, suitable for industrial and commercial applications, has been available in the market for some time. Micro-CHP refers to the small-scale production of heat and power for individual commercial buildings, apartments and individual homes. These units meet the demand for space heating and hot water whilst providing electricity to supplement or replace the grid supply.
Carbon emissions are reduced by generating electricity at the point of use, avoiding the system losses associated with central power production
Heat, hot water and electricity can be produced all from the same source
By generating electricity on-site carbon dioxide emissions could be saved compared with using grid electricity and a standard heating boiler
There is little difference for an installer in replacing a standard boiler with a micro-CHP system
Any excess energy can be sold back to the national grid
Increase efficiency. CHP systems act as energy multiplier which saves energy, money and reduces carbon emissions by up to 30 percent
Increase reliability. The system is independent of the grid and therefore immune to grid-level blackouts
It is not an actual energy source, only a means of extending energy
It could end up obstructing more sustainable options
It is only suitable where there is a need for both electricity and hot water on site
Heating and electricity demand must remain fairly consistent
It is not long term sustainable when based on fossil fuel technology
Heating demand must be continuous
Efficiency claims are sometimes overstated since heat energy and electricity are not equivalent
Unit cost for 2 to 6 kW systems is on the order of 9000 to 18000€. Payback: between 2 and 5 years. Cost savings between 20-25%.
Economic savings are generated for the user, by reducing imported electricity and by selling surplus electricity back to the grid.