In past articles we have discussed two very exciting movements within the energy industry: distributed power generation (DG) and combined heat and power (CHP) systems. We think it’s fair to say that together DG and CHP can completely revolutionize the energy sector. That is of course a lofty statement to make, but we believe that several key factors have come together to create the perfect environment for the rise of DG and CHP systems.
What Are DG and CHP Systems?
If you missed our earlier articles on distributed power generation (DG) and combined heat and power (CHP) systems, there are a few quick points you should understand. First, distributed power generation refers to generating power on-site or in close proximity to where it will be used, instead of at major energy plants from which it must then be transported across an energy grid to reach its destination. This allows for greater energy independence and energy efficiency. Meanwhile, combined heat and power, also referred to as cogeneration, refers to the process of generating and capturing both electrical energy and heat energy at the same time. Heat is a natural byproduct of the generation process, by harnessing it and utilizing it companies or other power-using entities can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and consume fewer resources.
Why the Time is Right for DG and CHP Systems?
There is some significant overlap between DG and CHP systems and the two are often used in conjunction with each other. Many clients who could benefit from one could also benefit from the other. Likewise the two processes share many conditions in common, which are collectively making it the right time for a general expansion and spread of both systems.
Natural Gas and Synthetic Natural Gas – In recent years natural gas recovery technologies have advanced considerably, making more and more natural gas recoverable and bringing down the cost of the resource. Natural gas is an ideal fuel for DG and CHP systems. However, transporting natural gas requires a considerable investment in infrastructure, both in terms of money and time. Fortunately, there is an alternative. Propane can be transported efficiently as a liquid via all the traditional channels including railroads, trucks, or tanker ships and when it is vaporized and combined with air it becomes synthetic natural gas and can be burned and utilized in the same ways as traditional natural gas.
Environmental Concerns – Environmental concerns are a major source of attention in today’s world, with many governments and regulatory bodies passing more stringent emission and pollution regulations. Likewise, even where more lax regulations remain in effect, companies are growing more averse to being seen as polluters and thereby risking alienating their customer bases. DG & CHP systems address these concerns in a big way by increasing energy efficiency, helping to conserve fuel sources, and even lowering emission rates. SNG, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), and similar fuel sources burn cleanly.
Energy Stability – A major consideration for many countries, especially smaller countries, and the international companies that operate within them, is energy stability. Geopolitics can significantly affect the supply and availability of energy, often driving up costs in the process. DG & CHP systems address this problem by allowing users to operate with considerably more energy independence. DG does not rely on large-scale power grids and CHP helps dramatically boost energy efficiency.
Economic Advantages – Money is a powerful motivator for most for-profit corporations, and even not-for-profits and nonprofits will still be motivated to reduce costs and better utilize financial resources. DG & CHP offer a huge potential for cost savings and in some cases operators of these systems may even be able to sell power back to the grid for a profit.
Polaris Is at the Forefront of the DG and CHP Movement
Polaris is at the forefront of the DG and CHP movements. Successful adoption of these exciting new systems requires expert process systems engineers to implement and install them. We already have experience working with large-scale implementation for an international beverage manufacturer and we were able to help them cut their energy costs from 55¢ per kwh to 12¢ per kwh and their heating costs from $38 per thousand pounds of steam to only $28 per thousand pounds of steam. We are excited for the future and confident that we can help more of our clients attain such considerable cost savings.