The US Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) plans to build a $40 million combined heat and power (CHP) plant that will meet 80 percent of APG’s energy needs, writes the Baltimore Sun. The CHP, or cogeneration, system will provide both steam and electricity to the facility, generating $4.4 million in annual energy savings and helping to meet an executive order for more efficient energy use. The system will use a gas-fired generator and recycle the waste heat created in the process, which will be used to create steam. The facility currently relies on steam from a nearby waste incineration facility that is set to be decommissioned.
Energy Efficiency Markets (EEM) published an article suggesting that CHP and district energy will expand significantly under the EPA Clean Power Plan. The EEM article explains that customers install CHP both for its environmental benefits and the long-term cost savings it provides. According to the EPA’s Combined Heat and Power Partnership, the average US power plant converts just 33 percent of the energy from the fuel input into electricity; the rest is expelled as waste heat. In contrast, CHP systems convert between 55 and 80 percent of energy, depending on the technology used. Modern, efficient power plants known as “combined-cycle gas turbines” typically achieve efficiencies of 50 to 60 percent, according to Electrical Engineering Portal by relying on a process that is similar to CHP whereby the plant recycles waste heat and uses it to spin a steam turbine.