Cogeneration vs. Trigeneration


What does Cogeneration mean exactly?

Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of two useful forms of energy: high-temperature heat and electricity generated from a single fuel source. For this reason Cogeneration is also referred to as Combined Heat and Power (CHP).

Cogeneration, some times called ‘Cogen’, is a proven and reliable technology operating at over 100 sites across Australia.

A major practical benefit of a Cogen or CHP plant is one that it recovers otherwise wasted thermal energy and distributes the heat energy throughout the building’s HVAC system. This method of heating is highly efficient compared to separate dedicated heating systems powered by a different fuel source.

Benefits of Cogeneration

Cogen or CHP offers major economic and environmental benefits, including:

Organisations that use large amounts of hot water, heat, steam or chilling would benefit from Cogeneration, such as: Hospitals, universities, hotels, office buildings, aquatic centres, food and beverage product manufacturers and other large facilities that have extensive requirements for heat energy production.


What is a Cogeneration plant?

Cogeneration is a high efficiency energy system that produces either electricity (or mechanical power) and valuable heat from a single fuel source.

There are different types of Cogeneration plants, but the outcome is typically the same in terms of waste heat recovery.

The difference between Cogeneration and Trigeneration?

Trigeneration is an extension of Cogeneration that involves the simultaneous production of electricity, heating and cooling. Trigeneration is often referred to as combined cooling, heat and power – or CCHP for short.

Trigeneration is the process by which some of the heat produced by a Cogeneration plant is used to generate chilled water for air conditioning or refrigeration.

Benefits of Trigeneration

There are a number of benefits to trigeneration including:

From a technical standpoint, Trigeneration is a much more efficient technology than Cogeneration; however, in order to determine which system makes practical and financial sense for an organisation, the building’s energy infrastructure must first be inspected and assessed by qualified engineers, along with careful consideration of business drivers, project financing and return on investment criteria. In certain cases, Cogen or Trigen systems are not cost effective to install as savings generated may be too low to justify the investment. It’s recommended to contact a trusted energy efficiency consultant or Cogen/Trigen specialist to evaluate your requirements and recommend the best solution with optimal economic and environmental outcomes.

Ecosave Advisory assists large energy users with detailed energy assessments and where applicable include feasibility studies of either Cogeneration or Trigeneration systems as one possible Energy Conservation Measure (ECM) among a holistic package of ECMs. Ecosave does more than provide best practice recommendations for sustainability through independent energy consulting engagements; with more than 15 years of experience in implementing energy efficiency upgrades Ecosave has developed engineering expertise for commercial buildings, shopping centres, hospitals, schools, universities, manufacturing sites and other complex facilities that consumer significant amounts of energy and water.

For more information or to talk to an Energy Solutions Adviser, click here to contact Ecosave and book a FREE consultation.

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