Combined Heat & Power (CHP)
Our fuel cell power plants excel in highly efficient CHP applications
Due to their unique operating characteristics, Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) power plants excel in highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) applications, increasing the economic and environmental value to our customers and the local community.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes CHP as follows:
“Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is an efficient, clean, and reliable approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source. 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. At the same time, CHP reduces the emission of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change.”
Our fuel cells’ electrochemical power generation process generates both ultra-clean electricity and usable high quality heat suitable for making steam. Almost every DFC power plant in our installed fleet is configured for combined heat and power generation with the heat being used for a variety of purposes including:
- Facility heating
- Hot water heating
- Facility cooling through absorption chilling
- Heat for industrial operations (i.e., heating ovens for industrial operations or heating anaerobic digesters for renewable biogas applications)
- Routing to district heating system
The heat can also be used to generate additional electricity for multi-megawatt fuel cell parks that do not have a use for all of the heat generated.
Using a single fuel source to generate both electricity and heat improves efficiency, reduces costs, and supports sustainability initiatives. CHP-configured DFC power plants are up to 90 percent efficient, depending on the application. Generating both electricity and heat reduces or even eliminates the need to generate or procure heat, leading to cost savings. Heat is typically generated by combustion-based boilers so reducing or eliminating the use of boilers reduces the emission of pollutants and CO2, which is good for the environment.