Combined Heat and Power: An Energy Solution

Reader Contribution by Jessie Fetterling

Combined Heat and Power: Effective Energy Solutions for a Sustainable Future — a new report released by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) — could offer solutions to our energy problems. The report shows how Combined Heat and Power (CHP) could enhance national energy efficiency and create economic growth. According to EERE, CHP uses a variety of fuels to create electricity at the point of use, allowing normally lost heat to be saved and used for heating and cooling. Because of CHP, the United States already annually avoids 1.9 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of fuel consumption and 248 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions — the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road. The report shows that if just 20% of generating capacity came from CHP by 2030, these benefits could occur:

  • A 60% reduction of the projected increase in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 — the equivalent of taking 154 million cars off the road
  • Fuel savings of 5.3 quadrillion Btu — the equivalent of almost half the current energy consumption by U.S. households
  • The creation of 1 million new green-collar jobs through 2030 and $234 billion towards new investments throughout the United States

Both the Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program and Oak Ridge National Laboratory worked on the report, which was also reviewed by a range of non-governmental stakeholders.