DG and CHP are two of the hottest acronyms in industrial power generation—as well as in environmental preservation. That’s because these two systems work together extremely well and allow businesses and industries to handle their fuel needs more efficiently while also remaining eco-friendly and profitable. Let’s take a look at why DG and CHP systems are so well suited to “green” companies.
Definitions of DG and CHP
DG stands for Distributed Generation, which refers to the on-site production of electric power. Rather than relying on the traditional model of power plants and electric grids, a facility can completely control its own power production. CHP, or Combined Heat and Power, is a form of energy production often used in conjunction with distributed power. Waste heat from the electricity production process is collected and used for practical applications such as heating the building or facility, or being used for industrial processes that rely on heat.
One major reason that DG and CHP are such great energy solutions is that they can make a facility almost completely self-sufficient. With the ability to produce its own electricity, heating, and cooling, a complex gains complete control of its operations and does not need to rely on outside sources. This can make the facility much more energy efficient, boosting its environmental friendliness.
Distributed generation allows a facility to control the source of its electricity. This means that power can be taken from solar panels, wind turbines, or hydroelectric generators. These sources of energy do not pollute and have little environmental impact. Another option is the use of biofuels, which greatly reduce carbon emissions and rely on renewable resources. In many cases biofuels can be used to power traditional generators.
Currently, fossil fuels are still a cheap and easily obtainable resource, but with DG and CHP even oil, coal, and natural gas can be made greener. This is because these systems are highly efficient, allowing power to be increased and operations to be expanded without a corresponding increase in environmental impact. Pollution, carbon emissions, and resource extraction can be greatly reduced with the use of advanced power systems.
When power is produced on a convention model, a great deal of energy is lost as the power is transmitted over the electric grid. The longer the line and the lower the current, the more power is wasted. In the United States, more than 6% of all power produced never even reaches its consumers, dissipating while it is being transported. That number spikes significantly higher when dealing with older infrastructure and remote locations. With distributed generation, however, this power loss is virtually eliminated, since the energy doesn’t have to travel nearly as far.
Energy waste doesn’t usually start with the power grid, however; it begins at the power plant. The burning of fuel creates a great deal of extra heat. At a typical plant, that heat is allowed to escape through the smokestacks, and as much as two thirds of the energy in the fuel may be completely wasted this way. When combined with losses due to transmission, traditional power production may only have an efficiency rate of 28% to 35%. This means that the amount of fossil fuels burned is as much as three times more than needed.
Combined heat and power systems take advantage of waste heat and ensure that it is not truly wasted. By using the heat to warm and cool a facility, CHP both reduces the amount of electricity needed and finds a use for the extra heat energy. DG and CHP systems can reach an impressive 80-90% efficiency, dramatically reducing the amount of fuel needed.
CHP and DG can make a company much greener. This is advantageous when dealing with regulators and helps the facility conform to environmental standards. In addition, eco-friendliness helps to boost public image and attracts environmentally conscious customers.
Polaris is an industry leader in designing and implementing DG and CHP systems. With years of experience in the industrial sector we have the resources and expertise necessary to help organizations go green with these innovative power solutions. Please contact us to discuss your power and energy needs.