What is trigeneration?

Trigeneration is the production of combined cooling, heat, and power from a single generator or process. The trigen system produces electricity and useful heat which is utilised for hot water, space heating or steam production, as well as energy efficient cooling. 

Trigeneration is sometimes referred to as CCHP or combined cooling, heat and power. 

Benefits of trigeneration

Trigeneration systems build further on the efficiency of cogeneration systems combining the production of electricity and heat with cooling. Benefits include:

  • Energy savings - reduced power costs by utilising the existing waste heat produced during electricity generation to heat water or use as central heating, as well as produce cooling for air conditioning systems or refrigeration units. 
  • Reduced environmental impact - trigeneration is an energy efficient method of power creation, offering around 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with mains grid power production.
  • Trigen can be used either as the main source of power, heat and cooling for your property or business or as a backup measure in case of mains power outages.
  • It's ideal for remote area use or use in areas which experience extreme weather events such as cyclones, tropical storms, or flooding reducing the risk of power outs.
  • Reliable independent power source - you control the electricity, heat, and cooling generation removing the inconvenience of grid peak management interruptions.
  • Trigen offers a range of fuel choices - trigeneration systems can be set up to operate using fuels such as natural gas, diesel, biogas, or LPG as well as dual fuel combinations.
  • Variable output - trigeneration systems can provide for varied and constantly changing power, heat, and cooling requirements. 
  • Increased fuel efficiency - from a single fuel 3 essential systems are supplied.
  • Reduced energy costs - reduced energy costs due to the removal of reliance on costly mains grid peak tariffs.

What’s the difference between cogeneration and trigeneration?

Cogeneration (cogen) and trigeneration (trigen) differ in that trigeneration contributes to the cooling needs of your property or business as well as heating and electricity generation.

Absorption chillers

Trigen utilises a portion of the waste heat to generate chilled water for air conditioning or refrigeration using an absorption chiller. Absorption chillers are an effective cooling option which are quieter than compression chillers making them ideal for applications with noise restrictions such as those in residential areas and office buildings.

Is trigeneration right for your needs?

The suitability of your property, building, or business for a trigeneration system would depend on many factors. We recommend a professional engineer consultation to ensure the trigen system meets your power, heat, and cooling needs as well as presents a viable financial investment.

Trigeneration has been effectively utilised in many applications including:

  • Community developments
  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Hotels
  • Manufacturing 
  • Schools, universities, and other education facilites.


Ref - https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/energy/files/hvac-factsheet-co-tri-generation.pdf, https://www.araner.com/blog/how-do-absorption-chillers-work/