Combined heat and power (CHP)—sometimes called cogeneration—is an integrated set of technologies for the simultaneous, on-site production of electricity and heat. R&D breakthroughs can help U.S. manufacturers introduce advanced technologies and systems to users in the United States and around the world.
CHP and distributed energy systems improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, optimize fuel flexibility, lower company operating costs, and facilitate market opportunities for the CHP share of U.S. electricity generating capacity.
FLEXIBLE CHP SYSTEMS TO SUPPORT GRID MODERNIZATION
The CHP R&D project portfolio focuses on the development of flexible CHP systems that can provide support services to the modern electric grid. While technologies that are specifically designed to integrate CHP systems with the grid are not readily available, this potential is being addressed by DOE.
- Energy Department Selects Seven Projects to Develop Combine Heat and Power Technologies that Offer Services to the Electric Grid (September 7, 2018)
- Fact Sheet: Flexible Combined Heat and Power Systems (January 2018)
- Report: Modeling the Impact of Flexible CHP on California’s Future Electric Grid (January 2018)
- Workshop: R&D for Dispatchable Distributed Energy Resources at Manufacturing Sites (February 2016)
The goal of the current CHP R&D project portfolio is to enable private sector development of flexible CHP systems that can play a potential role in stabilizing and improving the resiliency of the electric grid. The projects are divided into two topic areas: (1) power electronics and control systems and (2) electricity generation components. Descriptions of the current R&D projects and links to project fact sheets are provided below.
POWER ELECTRONICS AND CONTROL SYSTEMS:
These projects are developing power electronics and control systems that enable seamless interconnection of flexible CHP systems with the grid and allow the power generated by the CHP system to meet stringent requirements of grid operators.
Clemson University – North Charleston, NC
The project will develop and test a modular control system architecture to enable ﬂexible CHP systems with advanced grid support functionality. The distributed control system architecture will enable facilities to more eﬀectively utilize innovative power electronics equipment and controls to seamlessly interconnect CHP systems with the power grid.
GE Global Research – Niskayuna, NY
The project will develop a full-size grid interface converter and control solution to interconnect small and mid-size CHP engines to a low or medium voltage electric grid. All control functions to meet interconnection requirements will be developed and packaged with a substation microgrid controller.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville – Knoxville, TN
The project will develop a power conditioning system converter and a corresponding control system for flexible CHP systems. The power conditioning system converter and controller will support different types of CHP prime movers and be scalable to serve as the interface connector between CHP systems and a medium voltage grid.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute – Blacksburg, VA
The project will develop a modular, scalable medium voltage power converter featuring stability-enhanced grid support functions for flexible CHP systems. The converter will use a modular circuit topology that is scalable both in voltage and current to flexibly meet the needs of CHP systems in the 1-20 MW range.
ELECTRICITY GENERATION COMPONENTS:
These projects are developing modifications to existing prime mover technologies to enable CHP systems to be more responsive to the demands of the modern electric grid.
ElectraTherm – Flowery Branch, GA
The project will enable a novel flexible CHP system concept by developing an Organic Rankine Cycle system that can be integrated with a reciprocating engine to achieve total CHP system efficiencies of 85% or more at both its rated electrical capacity and at 50% capacity. Such a CHP system will be able to provide additional power to the grid when needed without sacrificing system efficiency under different operating conditions.
Siemens Corporation – Charlotte, NC
The project will integrate a supercritical carbon dioxide bottoming cycle with a 5.3 MW gas turbine to develop a CHP system that is able to transition rapidly between 50% and 100% load by engaging or bypassing the bottoming cycle while maintaining electrical system efficiency above 30% at all times.
Southwest Research Institute – San Antonio, TX
The project will develop new combustion system solutions and technologies that will enable a gas turbine to maintain high efficiency and low emissions during high turndown operation. Increasing the efficiency of the turbine at part load conditions and expanding the lean operating envelope of the turbine will significantly enhance the ability of a gas turbine-driven CHP system to provide advanced grid services.
Find information about past CHP R&D projects funded by DOE. Previous R&D efforts focused on advanced reciprocating engine systems, packaged CHP systems, high-value applications, fuel-flexible CHP, and technology demonstrations.