Combined Heat and Power

For industries and applications requiring heating, cooling and power generation, WEC Projects offers customised combined heat and power (CHP) solutions including biogas and electricity/heat exchange options.

Combined Heat and Power Solutions

Combined heat and power (CHP), or co-generation, is a method of power generation that captures the heat produced by the generation process to provide thermal energy, e.g. steam or hot water, for applications such as heating and cooling for domestic and industrial processes. A CHP system utilises the heat that would otherwise be wasted and puts it to practical use. As such, CHP systems are more environmentally compatible than conventional power generation systems and suitable in areas where greenhouse gases and other polluting emissions are strictly regulated.

While CHP systems can be designed in various configurations, one particularly useful configuration is the use of biogas, a by-product of anaerobic digestion.

Biogas

Biogas is the result of biological processes which take place during the anaerobic breakdown of organic matter. It consists mainly of methane (±60%), carbon dioxide (±35%) and small amounts of other gases such as ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, etc. Methane is the important component of biogas (±99% of liquid natural gas is methane) as it is combustible and therefore can be used to produce power and heat energy.

Advantages of Biogas

The advantage of biogas is that it is a relatively clean energy source. Biogas, which is mostly derived from biological processes (decomposition) of natural organic material such as sewage, food waste, compost etc, adds no nett CO2 to the environment making it a cleaner energy alternative. Another advantage of a biogas-based CHP process is its lower energy costs. Depending on the application, size and configuration of the process, as much as 70% in energy cost savings can be achieved.

Electricity and heat

CHP plants can be equipped with conventional engine-driven generators that have been adapted to run on 60% methane, providing a cleaner solution than conventional fossil fuel-driven generators. In addition to the electricity produced by the generator, the water used to cool the engine is heated and can be utilised for industrial processes or, in the case of a wastewater treatment plant, used in the plant’s anaerobic digesters. In addition, energy from the exhaust gas produced by the generator can be recovered using heat exchangers. This heat can be used to heat water for industrial processes or in the steam generation process.

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