AB GroupNatural Gas
WHAT IS IT
Cogeneration consists in the simultaneous production of electricity and heat, starting from a single source (both fossil and renewable), inside a single integrated system. The main advantage compared to traditional separate-process energy production is that the heat is reused that normally remains unused and is dispersed in the atmosphere. The cogeneration concept is closely related to that of “cogeneration plant”, i.e., the technology able to implement the simultaneous production of electricity and heat. The most common configuration of a cogeneration plant calls for the integration between a motor, connected to a power generator, and a heat recycling system. A cogeneration plant can be compared to a power generator which, instead of only producing electricity, also recycles the generated heat, thereby increasing the total output. The thermal energy can be used for industrial processes, for home heating or cooling and air-conditioning systems. In these cases, we talk about trigeneration: besides producing electricity, the heat recycled from transformation is used to produce cooling power.
Cogeneration allows saving up to 30% of primary energy and affords objective, measurable and quantifiable benefits. Trigeneration is based on the same guiding principle, i.e., the simultaneous production of heat, electrical power and cooling power from just one power source. Cogeneration and trigeneration fall within the strategic choices of companies which see energy efficiency as an essential opportunity for cutting costs and bettering their competitive edge. Equally important are the advantages at environmental-impact level, inasmuch as CO2 emissions are significantly reduced thanks to the lower consumption of fossil fuels.