Types of electrical cogeneration plants

Cogeneration, CHP (Combined Heat and Power) is the use of a heat engine to produce heat and electricity simultaneously.

In general, thermal power plants, as well as thermal engines, do not transform existing energy into electricity. Most motors waste half of their main power due to excess heat.

From capturing these quantities, the combined heat and power uses the heat that is wasted in a standard power plant, achieving a total efficiency range of 80 to 95 percent, which contrasts with the maximum of 40 percent. cent in regular exchanges.

This means that little fuel will be used to produce the same amount of energy required.

Due to the high capacity in energy efficiency, cogeneration is considered to be the main provider to reverse climate change, since it presents reasonable and consistent benefits in energy supply. Next, we make a general description of this system, as well as the types of cogeneration plants that exist:

Cogeneration components

The fundamental components of a combined heat and power system include the following:

  • The main engine, used to run the generator.
  • The fuel system.
  • The generator, which is used to produce electricity from the power distribution system to the building.
  • The heat recovery system, which is used to collect usable heat from the engine.
  • The cooling system, which serves to dissipate the heat that is rejected from the locomotive and that cannot be used.
  • Combustion air and ventilation systems, which serve to supply clean air and carry waste gases from the engine.
  • The control system, which is used to maintain a safe and competent operation.
  • The cabinet, which is used to achieve protection for the engine, as well as for the drivers, and also to reduce noise.

Types of cogeneration plants

Basically, the types of cogeneration plants are classified according to the operating process and energy utilization series. Therefore, the types of cogeneration systems are: top cycle (topping cycle) and bottom cycle (bottoming cycle).

top cycle

In this type of power plant, if the supplied fuel is first used to generate power, then it produces thermal energy during the process. This energy is used primarily to satisfy process heat as well as other thermal supplies.

This type of cogeneration plant is the most popular and used system. Power plants of a higher cycle are classified into these four:

Combined cycle cogeneration plant

A combined cycle cogeneration plant mainly comprises a diesel engine, as well as a gas turbine that generates electrical or mechanical energy conducted through a heat enhancement system, which is useful for producing steam and driving a turbine with the resulting.

Steam turbine cogeneration plant

The steam turbine cogeneration plant is used to generate electric power and process steam.

This is done through the combustion of coal to generate high-force steam, which is then driven through a turbine to generate the required power; the leftover steam is then used as a low-force process to heat bodies of water that serve a variety of purposes.

Internal combustion engine

A cogeneration plant with an internal combustion engine includes a cooling system water cover, which circulates through a heat recovery system aimed at producing steam, which would otherwise be hot water to heat the hole.

Gas turbine

In this gas turbine cogeneration plant, a normal gas turbine is used to drive a generator used to produce electricity. Turbine exhaust is supplied by a heat recovery boiler that serves to generate process heat and steam.

lower cycle

In a lower cycle cogeneration plant, the main fuel is used to generate high temperature thermal energy. The heat discarded in this method is then used to generate power through a recovery boiler and turbine generator.

Currently, this plant model is widely used in manufacturing processes, which at the same time occupy heat in boilers at very high temperatures and reject it at equally high temperatures.

Although they are used in industries such as cement, steel, ceramics, petrochemicals, gas, etc., these types of cogeneration plants are not very common, nor are they applicable to higher cycle plants.

Needs that cogeneration satisfies

Cogeneration allows the following

  • Reduce manufacturing price and improve production.
  • Plant efficiency progression.
  • Help conserve water use, as well as its cost.
  • Reduce the emission of toxic materials such as mercury, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, otherwise the greenhouse effect would be promoted.
  • Money saving, as these systems are cheap compared to regular power plants.

How to select the cogeneration system

There are many factors that we must take into consideration when selecting the cogeneration system:

  • Equalization of electrical charge.
  • Thermal load equalization.
  • Base-electric load setting.
  • Base-thermal load setting.
  • Heat/energy relationship.
  • The quality of the thermal energy required.
  • Load schemes.
  • Existing fuels.

When should we consider cogeneration?

It should always be considered in the following instances:

  • The design of a new building.
  • The installation of a new boiler plant.
  • Replacement or remodeling of the existing plant.
  • Review of the electrical supply.

The different types of cogeneration plants can help a wide range of sectors: wastewater treatment, military, industrial facilities, data centers, entertainment, hotels, hospitals, prisons, educational establishments, horticulture, mixed developments, etc.

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