Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is the on-site, concurrent production of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy (heating or cooling) from a single source of energy. CHP offers businesses and industry the opportunity to generate a portion of their own energy on-site, increasing the reliability of that energy as well as reduced operational costs resulting from increased energy efficiency. CHP is eligible for financing through the Energy Loan Program.

What is CHP?

What is Combined Heat and Power?

Hampton Feedlot Biogas equipment inside a building with a garage door open next to it.

Combined heat and power (CHP) is on-site generation of electricity and usable heat from the same fuel source (conventional or renewable).  CHP can be used at a single facility to provide a portion of their energy, while still purchasing power from the centralized utility provider.  While CHP can be designed to provide a facility’s total electric demand, peak load shaving, or back up functions, most CHP systems are designed to meet the heat demand of the facility since this leads to the most efficient systems and thus greatest economic benefit.  

CHP can also be used as the foundation of a microgrid in which multiple facilities/energy loads are interconnected within a clearly defined electrical boundary that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the central utility grid. A microgrid typically has multiple sources of on-site generation (ex: CHP, solar, battery) and has the capability of operating in connection with the grid (synonyms: in parallel, cogeneration) and independently of the grid (synonyms: island mode, grid-independent).

Graphic of creating electricity or heat using a power plant or boiler with 45 percent efficiency vs. using a combined heat and power system with 80 percent efficiency.
Directional arrows show the flow from fuel to prime mover to heat exchange to thermal vs flow from fuel to prime mover to generator to electricty.

Where to use Combined Heat and Power

Aerial view of a wastewater treatment plant.
Wastewater treatment plant

CHP applications require steady and significant electrical and thermal loads.

  • Industrial examples: chemical processing, food processing, and metals manufacturing.
  • Commercial examples: hotels, private office buildings, laundries, agricultural operations, and apartment complexes. 
  • Institutional examples: hospitals, schools, university campuses, state and federal government buildings.
  • Community examples: water and wastewater treatment facilities, emergency response facilities, community microgrids (ex: some combination of school, hotel, police station, nursing home, gas station, grocery store).

Project profiles
List of CHP applications in Missouri

eCatalog

See what pre-packaged CHP systems are available in your ZIP code!  Access the national electronic catalog of packaged CHP providers!  The eCatalog is a voluntary public/private partnership designed to increase deployment of CHP in commercial, institutional and multi-family buildings and manufacturing plants. The core of the eCatalog are CHP Packagers who commit to provide pre-engineered and tested Packaged CHP systems that meet or exceed DOE performance requirements and CHP Solution Providers who commit to provide responsible installation, commissioning, maintenance and service of recognized Packaged CHP systems and also provide a single point of responsibility.

U.S. Department of Energy Combined Heat and Power eCatalog Fact Sheet
U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Packaged Combined Heat and Power eCatalog
U.S. Department of Energy eCatalog Site Guide

Summits

The Division of Energy and Spire co-hosted Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Summits focused on energy resiliency for critical facilities. Attendees affiliated with, and providing services to, universities and colleges, correctional facilities and nursing homes spent a day learning about the benefits of CHP. The participation of sponsors and exhibitors, which have direct experience with CHP systems, brought a breadth of resources to the summits for the benefit of all participants and their organizations.

Western Summit

Eastern Summit

Resources

  1. U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Industrial Distributed Energy
    The DOE’s Industrial Distributed Energy activities accelerate deployment of innovative CHP solutions through the support of technology development efforts, demonstrations, and technology performance validation projects conducted through public-private collaborations. One of the program’s focus areas is to provide users with the tools to evaluate the potential of CHP and enable implementation of CHP systems in industrial applications.
  2. EPA’s Combined Heat and Power Partnership
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) CHP Partnership is a voluntary program seeking to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the use of CHP. The Partnership works 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.
  3. Midwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships (TAPs)
    Midwest CHP TAP promotes and assists in transforming the market for CHP, waste heat to power, and district energy technologies and concepts throughout the Midwestern states. Its key services include market opportunity analyses, education and outreach, and technical assistance. It is one of seven regional partnerships affiliated with DOE.
  4. CHP Association (CHPA)
    CHP Association (CHPA) is a private, non-profit 501(c)6 trade association that brings together diverse market interests to promote the growth of clean, efficient local energy generation in the United States. CHPA’s mission is to increase deployment of combined heat and power and waste energy recovery systems to benefit the environment and the economy.
  5. dCHPP (CHP Policies and Incentives Database)
    The dCHPP is an online database that allows users to search for CHP policies and incentives by state or at the federal level.
  6. CHP Project Development Handbook
    This handbook provides information, tools, and hints on project development, CHP technologies, and the resources of the CHP Partnership. It can assist energy users to design, install, and operate CHP systems at their facilities.
  7. CHP Emissions Calculator
    The EPA’s CHP Emissions Calculator (CEC) is a Microsoft Excel-based tool that calculates and compares the estimated air pollutant emissions (CO2e, SO2 and NOX) of a CHP system and comparable separate heat and power (SHP) (i.e., grid power and a boiler system). In addition to estimating emissions and emissions reductions, the CEC presents the carbon equivalency of the emissions reductions in terms of the emissions associated with the electricity used by the average U.S. home.
  8. EPA's Catalog of CHP Technologies
    This report provides an overview of how combined heat and power systems work and the key concepts of efficiency and power-to-heat ratios. It also provides information and performance characteristics of five commercially available CHP prime movers.
  9. CHP Resource Guide
    The primary objective of this CHP Resource Guide is to provide a ready reference for the basic principles of CHP and the “Rules–of–Thumb” that apply when considering the application of CHP.
  10. CHP Resource Guide for Hospital Applications
    The primary objective of this guidebook is to provide a reference document of basic information for hospital managers when considering the application of CHP in the healthcare industry, specifically in hospitals.
  11. Ameren Missouri Rider SSR
    Ameren Missouri business customers with CHP typically require standby service under Rider SSR. The rider provides the terms and rates under which the utility will stand by to replace the electric service otherwise  provided by the customer’s own generating equipment.
  12. Treatment of CHP in LEED® for Building Design and Construction Fact Sheet
    Building energy performance constitutes the largest point-earning component within the LEED® green building program, and CHP can help projects maximize the number of points earned. This fact sheet summarizes how CHP is treated under the LEED® for Building Design and Construction: New Construction and Major Renovations rating system LEED® BD+C: New Construction).
  13. Missouri Standard Microgrid Interconnection Process
    This document outlines the process by which a customer may request approval to interconnect a microgrid with the local utility as well as the responsibilities of the utility in responding to the request.
  14. Missouri Standard Microgrid Interconnection Requirements
    This document explains the benefits of microgrids, reviews policies and standards being used to advance microgrids in other states, and offers recommendations for Missouri.

U.S. Department of Energy Combined Heat and Power Technology Fact Sheet Series

Benefits

The up front cost of setting up a CHP system is “payed back”, or recovered, over a period of time through savings resulting from the benefits described below, then the savings continue to be “payed forward”, or accumulated, over the lifetime of the facility. 

  • Avoided outages - One hundred percent reliable energy means there is never an unplanned outage or interruption in service. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Risk Profile for the state of Missouri indicates that a) Missouri electrical transmission outages affect 1,660,305 customers 45 hours per year on average, b) electric distribution outages caused by weather and falling trees affect 214,783 customers 45 hours per year, and c) severe weather causes average property loss of $58.9 million per year. A momentary outage can cause machinery to jam/malfunction, employees to stand idle, and production deadlines to be missed.  Loss of air conditioning in a nursing home in Florida resulted in 8 deaths after the Hurricane Irma power outage. The estimated cost of a 2 hour outage at an outpatient clinic is $93,750. The average cost of outages estimated for 67 data centers is $690,204 per incident. CHP systems perform 96-99% of the time and, due to their on-site location, are not subject to the outages caused by centralized utility transmission and distribution infrastructure issues.  
  • Increased efficiency - Separate, centralized electricity generation and on-site heat generation has a combined efficiency of about 45 percent. In contrast, CHP systems typically achieve total system efficiencies ranging from 60 to 80 percent for producing electricity and thermal energy.
  • Decreased operating costs - Higher efficiency translates into lower energy and operating costs, protection of revenue streams, and a hedge against increasing energy price. Energy costs can be a significant component of a facility’s operating budget.
  • Decreased air emissions - Since less fuel is consumed in CHP applications than equivalent separate heat and power systems to produce the same amount of energy, greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), as well as pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx) sulfur dioxide (SO2) and mercury (Hg), are reduced.  While monetization of the societal and environmental health benefits of decreased air emissions, they are generally acknowledged.