Global Superior Energy Performance Partnership (GSEP)
Combined Heat and Power and Efficient District Heating and Cooling Working Group
The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and Efficient District Heating and Cooling (DHC) Working Group will increase awareness about the efficiency advantages and vast potential of CHP and district energy to:
- Reduce fuel consumption
- Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants harmful to the environment and human health
- Increase the use of renewable resources for heat and power production
- Complement the use of intermittent renewable energy sources
- Reduce dependence on imported energy and utilize local resources to increase energy security
- Increase economic competitiveness and increase investment in infrastructure
The Working Group will also increase and facilitate the adoption and implementation of CHP and district energy through activities such as targeted education and outreach, the identification of enabling policies, and the development of best practices and policy toolkits.
The CHP and Efficient DHC Working Group is led by Finland.
CHP is a process by which primary energy is transformed simultaneously into both heat and electrical energy. This process is also known as cogeneration. The resulting heat can be utilized in both buildings and industrial processes, typically through water or steam, which is also convenient for DHC.
Because CHP plants produce both heat and electrical energy, they maximize the use of fuel energy and achieve total efficiency of greater than 70 percent. This is a sharp contrast to conventional condensing power plants that generally have a total efficiency below 40 percent. Because CHP plants operate at approximately twice the efficiency, they represent one of the most effective technologies by which to simultaneously reduce fuel consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants.
The CHP process can be based on the use of steam and gas turbines or combustion engines, and primary energy sources can include a wide range of fuels—solid, liquid, and gaseous—including biomass, waste, fossil fuels, or geothermal or solar energy. Due to this fact, CHP provides an efficient way to utilize renewable fuels such as biomass residues from agriculture or forestry.
DHC networks allow for the distribution of heating and cooling across a multi-building area. If designed efficiently—and particularly if coupled to CHP facilities—DHC networks can reduce the energy intensity and cost of these services considerably.
The objective of the Working Group is to increase awareness and adoption of CHP and district energy as a means to reduce fuel consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants harmful to the environment and human health, and to increase the use of renewable sources for heat and power production. Potential activities that it will pursue to accomplish this objective could include the following:
- Evaluate the national potential for CHP to reduce overall fuel consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants in each participating country, both in industrial and DHC applications
- Determine the potential of CHP using renewable energy
- Determine the potential to integrate CHP in both industrial and DHC applications
- Identify market and regulatory barriers to further the use of CHP and efficient DHC, and develop policy tool kits to help policy makers reduce or overcome those barriers
- Lead targeted education and outreach to users and policy makers to promote CHP and efficient DHC
- Develop best practices and share information and experiences with new technologies or processes that could include the following:
- Use CHP and efficient DHC with renewable fuels
- Design CHP plants to provide cooling
- Design CHP plants to operate with low-temperature DHC networks
- Determine the impact of electric vehicles on CHP usability
Current participation in the Working Group includes the European Commission, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States; the international organizations Euroheat & Power, the International District Energy Association (IDEA), and the International Energy Agency (IEA); and the companies Delta, Fortum, and Helsingin Energia. Additional public- and private-sector partners are welcome.
It is expected that partners will meet in-person one to two times per year, with audio or video conferences utilized for additional communication. In addition, small groups of participants might be formed in order to work on certain activities, and their meeting schedules could differ.
Given that there are several other multinational efforts on CHP and DHC already underway, the Working Group will seek opportunities to collaborate with them.
It is expected that partners will provide either financial or in-kind resources to support the activities of the Working Group.
Benefits of Participation
Because of its association with the Clean Energy Ministerial, the Working Group is in a unique position to inform an ongoing dialogue among ministers from major economies that account for approximately 80 percent of global energy use. In this manner, policy recommendations identified through the activities of the Working Group have the potential to receive high-level attention.
In addition, the active engagement of participating governments and other stakeholders in the Clean Energy Ministerial will allow Working Group participants to both inform and benefit from the experience and knowledge of others to meet collective goals.