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Two birds with one stone. The added value of a cogeneration plant it consists in the possibility of producing electricity and at the same time recovering that heat which usually remains unused and is dispersed into the atmosphere. It is the basic principle of efficiency: getting more from the resources available. With some distinctions, however, that allow us to understand if the cogeneration pays off.
The most common configuration of a cogeneration system It allows for the integration between an engine powered by a fuel (generally methane gas), an electric generator and a heat recovery system. Once the energy of the fuel is made 100, 55% is transformed into thermal energy, 35% into electricity and 10% is lost. The 'about' is obviously a must, but these are the values.
In terms of efficiency, a cogeration plant has average overall yields of around 80-90%. Compared to the separate production of heat and electricity, the increase in efficiency is about 30-40%, which makes cogeneration very convenient, but for whom? It is about the answer to this question, rather than aboutenergy efficiency of technology, which is divided.
Given that assessing the economic convenience and technical feasibility of a cogeneration plant it means considering a series of complex variables that require an equally complex design, the convenience of cogeneration it is evident in large industrial settlements, especially if they are very energy-intensive.
More difficult to drop the cogeneration in the small business, in the commerce and services sector and in the residential sector, as the powers involved become more modest. There are also experiences of domestic cogeneration and technologies that enable it, but we are not talking about Italy. One case is Panasonic's Ene-Farm in Japan.
Connecting to the network of a cogeneration plant allows you to sell or exchange electricity, thus eliminating energy waste and shortening the payback time (on-site exchange or dedicated withdrawal). The electricity produced with the cogeneration it can be channeled into the electricity network with important results in terms of savings and economic remuneration.
The same cannot be said for the heat, which in a cogeneration system it is mainly used with a view to self-consumption. The accumulation of heat is possible through thermally insulated hot water tanks, to which, if desired, it is possible to combine other heat generators such as solar panels, heat pumps and boilers.
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