Cogeneration Systems Advantages and Disadvantages
With an increased interest in eco-friendly ways for a sustainable future, the topic of electricity production was bound to become a well-versed discussion around the world. The use of fossil fuels to create electricity is not doing great things for our planet, and we were needing to create alternative ways in which to generate energy that weren’t so detrimental. A process which falls within this category is that of cogeneration or Combined Heat & Power (CHP) - a high-efficiency system that produces both electricity and usable heat simultaneously. So, what are the pros and cons of a system like this?
The benefits when it comes to cogeneration are numerous, however we have just included a few of the major pros below.
Increased fuel efficiency
Cogeneration is known for its high efficiency levels, meaning less fuel is needed to create similar levels of electricity and heat in comparison to other systems. This makes it a great eco-friendly option for fuel optimization.
Reducing energy wastage
This is a big environmental plus - if waste is being used to power cogeneration systems, this means less is going into our landfills.
Reduced energy costs
The more efficient a system is in creating electricity and heat, the lower your energy costs are going to be - that seems like a big advantage of cogeneration.
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
This is a big one - less greenhouse gases means a happier and healthier environment for all!
Reduced reliance on the grid
If you are using a CHP system that means you are not relying on a greater electricity grid, meaning better energy security and you can run completely ‘off-grid’, or supplement higher energy demands.
Various fuel options
Various fuels can be used in cogeneration, including methane, diesel, biogas and gas. This offers a level of flexibility, meaning you aren’t required to only use one type of fuel at all times and aren’t limited should a type of fuel be in short supply.
No system is perfect, therefore there are a few cons that must be considered when looking at cogeneration.
Not an intrinsic energy source
Although cogeneration is great at what it does, ultimately it is just used to make other energy sources more efficient as opposed to being its own intrinsic energy source. This does not however dampen its efficiency, it just means it is a vessel as opposed to its own energy provider.
Not suitable for everyone
Cogeneration is only applicable to areas that have a need for heating and electricity, and when it comes to larger systems, their heating/electricity need must be about equal for maximum benefits (larger systems power heat all the time!).
Can be costly
Although cogeneration can save you money on your energy bills, the installation costs for some systems can be quite high. The capital that is required may be hard for businesses looking at smaller scale installations to handle and can be off putting if not looking at the full picture long term.
Not always environmentally friendly
If cogeneration systems use renewable options like biogas as their primary fuels, they are an environmentally friendly option for energy production. On the other side however, if a system is using diesel or other fossil fuels as their fuel source than they are not an eco-friendly choice. This counters the environmental benefits of cogeneration and outweighs some advantages.
Just like anything, cogeneration has both positives and negatives to consider when deciding if it is the appropriate option for you and your circumstances. In saying this, the advantages that cogeneration offers are extremely beneficial in many ways, including both financially and for the environment. Although the initial costs to install a cogeneration system may be higher than most may like, the medium and long term savings that a system can offer more than make up for it. And let’s not forget the incredible environmental benefits, including less waste and lower greenhouse gas emissions which is the way towards a sustainable future.
If you would like to know some more information regarding cogeneration and how it could be a cost-saving and environmentally friendly option for your office, contact us on 1300 113 782 or complete an online enquiry form. We know the importance of stable and clean electricity and heat can help provide the best system for your circumstances.