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.  

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.  In addition, the CHP Program is funding R&D projects led by the DOE National Laboratories to support the development of flexible CHP technologies, with a focus on improving the efficiency of turbines used in CHP systems.

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.

HIGH SPEED MEDIUM VOLTAGE CHP SYSTEM WITH ADVANCED GRID SUPPORT

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.

Fact sheet

CONVERTER-INTERFACED CHP PLANT FOR IMPROVED GRID INTEGRATION, FLEXIBILITY, AND RESILIENCY

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.

Fact sheet

SIC-BASED MODULAR TRANSFORMER-LESS MW-SCALE POWER CONDITIONING SYSTEM AND CONTROL FOR FLEXIBLE CHP SYSTEM

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.

Fact sheet

HIGH-EFFICIENCY MODULAR SIC-BASED POWER CONVERTER FOR FLEXIBLE CHP SYSTEMS WITH STABILITY-ENHANCED GRID SUPPORT FUNCTIONS

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.

Fact sheet

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.

ORGANIC RANKINE CYCLE INTEGRATION AND OPTIMIZATION FOR HIGH EFFICIENCY CHP GENSET SYSTEMS

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.

Fact sheet

DEMONSTRATION OF IMPROVED CHP SYSTEM UTILIZING IMPROVED GAS TURBINE AND SCO2 CYCLES USING ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING COMPONENTS

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.

Fact sheet

MODIFICATIONS TO SOLAR TITAN 130 COMBUSTION SYSTEM FOR EFFICIENT, HIGH TURNDOWN OPERATION

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.

Fact sheet

HIGH EFFICIENCY TURBINES FOR CHP:

These projects are developing advanced materials, combustion system improvements, and new airfoil designs to improve the efficiency of turbines used in flexible CHP systems.

ADVANCED TURBINE AIRFOILS FOR EFFICIENT COMBINED HEAT AND POWER SYSTEMS

National Energy Technology Laboratory – Morgantown, WV
Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Oak Ridge, TN

The project will evaluate how a combination of new materials, additive manufacturing technologies, and airfoil cooling design can raise the efficiency of turbines used in CHP systems by demonstrating how to increase the turbine firing temperature by 100°C compared to a 2015 baseline. The project team will also estimate the economic benefits from these efficiency gains in CHP systems that use turbines smaller than 20 MW.

Fact sheet

HIGH PERFORMANCE, HIGH TEMPERATURE MATERIALS TO ENABLE HIGH EFFICIENCY POWER GENERATION

Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Oak Ridge, TN
Argonne National Laboratory – Lemont, IL

The project will evaluate advanced materials and develop lifetime modeling tools to enable a greater than 100°C increase in gas turbine inlet temperature compared to a 2015 baseline, and improve the durability and reduce maintenance costs of high temperature components in current CHP systems. The targeted components include heat exchangers, combustion liners, and hot corrosion-resistant coatings for disk applications.

Fact sheet coming soon

PERFORMANCE MODELING FOR chp IN MICROGRIDS AND DISTRICT ENERGY SYSTEMS:

These projects are developing models for the application of flexible CHP systems in microgrids and district energy systems.

INCORPORATING CHP MODELING INTO THE RE-OPT LITE WEB TOOL

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Golden, CO

The project will extend the REopt Lite web tool by adding detailed CHP modeling capabilities. The updated tool will have the ability to identify specific conditions, optimal system sizes, and dispatch strategies that maximize the economic benefit—such as demand reduction, energy arbitrage, grid services, and avoided outages—of hybrid CHP systems across multiple value streams.

Fact sheet coming soon

SIMULATION-BASED DESIGN AND OPTIMIZATION OF WASTE HEAT RECOVERY SYSTEMS

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Golden, CO
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – Berkeley, CA

The project will develop a tool that can quantify the value of a district energy system and its potential for waste heat recovery. The new software analysis platform will evaluate and optimize district energy systems to better utilize low-temperature waste heat from nearby commercial and industrial buildings. The tool will help project developers and engineers easily quantify the potential value and cost savings of community energy systems for both producers and consumers of waste heat.

Fact sheet

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.

Learn more about Industrial Distributed Energy and CHP, including basicsbenefits, and
technical assistance activities to help deploy technologies.