Combined heat and power—technology
Produced in partnership with WSP Environmental
Combined heat and power—technology

The following Energy practice note produced in partnership with WSP Environmental provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Combined heat and power—technology
  • What is combined heat and power?
  • Benefits
  • Forms
  • Reciprocating engine and boiler
  • Gas turbine and boiler
  • Boiler and steam turbine
  • Operations
  • Government incentives
  • Safety
  • More...

Combined heat and power—technology

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. These have traditionally been gas-fired, however that does not necessarily have to be the case.

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 (typically gas) 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

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