ORNL report details CHP benefits

By Ron Kotrba
Web exclusive posted Dec. 5, 2008 at 10:28 a.m. CST

Tennessee-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced the release of a new report, prepared in conjunction with U.S. DOE's Industrial Technologies Program, detailing potential benefits from increased U.S. proliferation of combined-heat-and-power (CHP), also referred to as cogeneration.

The report, titled "Combined Heat and Power: Effective Energy Solutions for a Sustainable Future," provides an in-depth look at opportunities and challenges to more widespread national use of CHP, and sets the stage for future policy dialogue aimed at promoting this clean energy solution.

The report asked the question, "What if 20 percent of generating capacity came from CHP?" If this could be achieved by 2030, the benefits would be many, according to the report. One major environmental advantage would be a 60 percent reduction in projected carbon dioxide increases between now and 2030, which ORNL stated would be equivalent to removing 154 million cars from the road.

A 20-percent generating capacity from CHP would also lead to a fuel savings of 5.3 quadrillion British thermal units, which the report stated is approximately half of the total energy currently consumed by U.S. households. It would also create one million new green-collar jobs and $234 billion in new investments across the United States.

Currently CHP use in the United States helps avoid more than 1.9 quadrillion Btus in fuel consumption, reducing carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking more than 45 million cars off the road.

The report can be viewed on the Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program Web site, http://www1.eere.energy.gov/industry/distributedenergy/.