A major misconception about Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is that people believe its efficiency is far greater than other methods for generating electricity.
Efficiencies of over 90% are claimed for CHP, but these are misleading.
CHP uses the exhaust gasses or exhaust steam from the power plant generating electricity, to provide heat to buildings. It’s easy to see why this misperception is rampant since it would appear that more energy is being used when heat from the exhaust is supplied to buildings, such as from a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plant or a diesel generator.
Claims of 80% or 90% efficiency are mistakenly seen as vastly better than the 32% HHV efficiency of a traditional coal-fired plant, 45% for a gas turbine, or 60% for an NGCC power plant. (These are approximate efficiencies with variations occurring among different plants.)
Unfortunately, while there is some improvement in efficiency…
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