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Combined Heat and Power Partnership

Frequent Questions

EPA's CHP Partnership

What is EPA's CHP Partnership?

The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership is a voluntary program seeking to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the use of CHP. The Partnership works closely with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments, and other clean energy stakeholders to facilitate the development of new projects and to promote their environmental and economic benefits. More information about the CHP Partnership can be found on the Partnership page.

How do I contact the CHP Partnership?

If you have questions or comments about the Partnership or any of the tools or services that we offer, please e-mail chp@epa.gov or call (703) 373-8108. You can also contact us through the Contact Us page.

Who are the CHP Partners?

Partners of EPA's CHP Partnership are organizations committed to improving the efficiency of the U.S. energy infrastructure and reducing the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Partners include CHP project developers and consultants, energy users, energy service companies, equipment manufacturers, and federal, state, and local government agencies. For a full list of our Partners, visit the CHP Partners page.

How does my organization join the CHP Partnership?

If you are interested in joining, please complete the Partnership Letter of Intent (PDF) (2 pp, 106K).

EPA's CHP Partnership is open to any of the following types of organizations interested in developing CHP projects or promoting the benefits of CHP:

  • CHP industry members
  • Energy end users
  • Institutions and nongovernmental organizations
  • State, local, and tribal governments

For requirements and benefits of joining the CHP Partnership, please visit the Partnership page.

What are the benefits of joining the CHP Partnership?

Partners of the EPA CHP Partnership enjoy access to a variety of tools and services designed to facilitate and promote Partners' development of CHP projects. The Partnership's many tools and services are provided free of charge to all Partners and include:

  • Education and outreach resources
  • Direct project assistance
  • CHP Funding Database
  • CHP Emissions Calculator
  • Public recognition
  • Partners' Greenhouse Gas Reduction Report

A complete list of offerings and specific recognition benefits for Partners, as well as a list of our most popular tools and services, can be found on the Benefits of Joining page.

What type of direct project assistance can the CHP Partnership provide?

The CHP Partnership provides information, tools, and technical assistance to energy users who are considering implementing CHP projects. The Partnership can help:

  • Identify opportunities for cost-effective CHP
  • Assess goals, drivers, and potential barriers for a project
  • Direct energy users to existing tools and resources
  • Determine next steps for project technical assistance

More information about these technical assistance offerings is available is available on the Technical Assistance for Candidate Sites.

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CHP Basics

What is CHP?

Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single fuel source, such as natural gas, biomass, biogas, coal, waste heat, or oil. CHP is not a single technology, but an integrated energy system that can be modified depending upon the needs of the energy end user. By installing a CHP system designed to meet the thermal and electrical base loads of a facility, CHP can greatly increase the facility's operational efficiency and decrease energy costs. More information can be found on the Basic Information page.

How does CHP work, and what are the key technologies?

CHP systems consist of a number of individual components configured into an integrated whole. These components include the prime mover (i.e., heat engine), generator, heat recovery, and electrical interconnection. The type of equipment that drives the overall system (i.e., the prime mover) typically identifies the CHP system. Prime movers for CHP systems include reciprocating engines, combustion or gas turbines, steam turbines, microturbines, and fuel cells. Detailed information about how CHP technologies work along with cost and performance information can be found in the Catalog of CHP Technologies.

What fuels can be used in CHP systems?

CHP systems are "fuel-neutral," which means that they can run on a variety of fuel types, such as natural gas, biomass, biogas, coal, waste heat, or oil. The type of fuel used depends on availability and the type of prime mover employed. More information about the fuels available for different prime movers can be found in the Catalog of CHP Technologies. In addition, information specific to biomass-fueled CHP can be found on the Biomass CHP page and in the Biomass CHP Catalog of Technologies.

What are the benefits of CHP?

CHP plays an important role in meeting U.S. energy needs as well as in reducing the environmental impact of power generation. Benefits include:

  • Efficiency Benefits: CHP requires less fuel to produce a given energy output, and avoids transmission and distribution losses that occur when electricity travels over power lines.
  • Reliability Benefits: CHP can be designed to provide high-quality electricity and thermal energy to a site regardless of what might occur on the power grid, decreasing the impact of outages and improving power quality for sensitive equipment.
  • Environmental Benefits: Because less fuel is burned to produce each unit of energy output, CHP reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Economic Benefits: CHP can save facilities considerable money on their energy bills due to its high efficiency and can provide a hedge against unstable energy costs.

Where does CHP make sense?

CHP is ideally suited for applications that have coincident thermal and power loads. CHP is most economical in applications that have high thermal loads and in areas where electricity costs more than $0.07/kilowatt-hour on average. CHP technology has been successfully installed in a wide variety of energy-intensive facility types and sizes nationwide, including:

  • Industrial manufacturers - chemical, refining, ethanol, pulp and paper, food processing, glass manufacturing
  • Institutions - colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons, military bases
  • Commercial buildings - hotels and casinos, airports, high-tech campuses, large office buildings, nursing homes
  • Municipal - district energy systems, wastewater treatment facilities, K-12 schools
  • Residential - multi-family housing, planned communities

The CHP Partnership has targeted some of its analysis and outreach efforts to increase awareness and adoption in three strategic market sectors: dry mill ethanol production, hotels and casinos, and municipal wastewater treatment facilities, and utilities. More information about these sectors can be found on the CHP Markets page.

How are CHP projects developed?

CHP project development usually entails five distinct stages: qualification, level 1 feasibility analysis, level 2 feasibility analysis, procurement, and operations and maintenance. The Project Development page provides information, tools, and hints on each of these stages of development, as well as information about how to access the assistance of the CHP Partnership.

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Public Recognition Opportunities

What are ENERGY STAR® CHP Awards and how do I apply for one?

EPA awards the ENERGY STAR® CHP Award to leaders who increase the nation's electric generation efficiency through the development of highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) projects. The ENERGY STAR CHP Award recognizes projects that require at least 5 percent less fuel than state-of-the-art separate heat and power generation. There is no deadline for submitting award applications. The Partnership accepts and processes applications continuously and presents awards at key events, such as our CHP Partners meeting or other Partner events. More details about how to apply can be found on the Public Recognition page.

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