Combined heat and power—technology
Combined heat and power—technology

The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Combined heat and power—technology
  • What is combined heat and power?
  • Benefits
  • Forms
  • Operations
  • Government incentives
  • Safety
  • Deployment

What is combined heat and power?

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is a technology used to provide heating and electricity, for a building or industrial process. It is the simultaneous generation of heat and power in a single process.

Traditional heating systems burn fuel to produce heat, which is then distributed around a building. At the same time, electricity is generated in a power station usually by burning fuel and using this to heat steam, which is used to generate electricity. The waste heat produced during power generation is usually disposed of, wasting energy.

CHP uses the fuel to generate electricity, with the waste heat put to work heating a building or process. The electricity can be used on site, or exported to the grid.

CHP systems can be noisier compared to a traditional boiler system, and the exhaust emissions require consideration to ensure they remain within acceptable limits. The capital cost of a CHP system is higher compared to an equivalent boiler system. Compared to the traditional arrangement of importing electricity from the grid and using a boiler on site, a well-run CHP system will be more efficient allowing the operator to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, cutting costs.


Traditionally, electricity is generated in central power stations, and distributed to end users around the country via the National Grid.