A guide to cogeneration unit sizing
Get the full benefits from cogeneration by choosing the best unit size for your needs.
Investing in a cogeneration system is, in some ways, very similar to how you would lease office space – if you lease more than you need, you find yourself paying for space that you don’t use. But if you lease too little, you will have to add on or find new space in the near future.
If you install a cogen system that’s too small, it will not provide the full cost savings. If it is too large it will struggle to meet its minimum load threshold to operate efficiently. Your CHP needs to operate as many hours as possible, because an idle plant produces no benefits.
Depending on the unit size, the typical cost of installing a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system varies between $800-$2000 per kWe. This is why the installation of a cogen plant requires consideration and planning to determine the optimal size and achieve the maximum return on your organization’s investment.
Cogeneration systems will increase gas consumption while reducing electricity usage, so check for the best tariffs with suppliers and adjust yours accordingly to ensure maximum benefit.
It is worth taking the time to consider other efficiency measures – such as better insulation, staff training, utility buying – before installing CHP into an existing structure, as well as exploring possible changes to your energy requirements in the future. By optimizing a building’s energy envelope first, you will gain data on the true hourly demand for heat and power to the building which can then be used to accurately size your cogeneration system.