With the world’s population currently reaching over 7.5 Billion people and with no signs of stopping, the demand for energy production is not likely to decrease anytime soon. Keeping that in mind, energy producers, alongside the companies and people that run their entire lives off of this energy are on a continual search for energy that not only meets the base energy demand of the world, but that is also efficient in providing a level source of income, while remaining environmentally friendly. That’s quite a tall order. However, once such technology does exist and has existed within in the current culture since the 1980s-Co-generation or Combined Heat and Energy (CHP).
Combined Heat and Power combats critical issues of energy productions such as transmission and distribution loss, air pollution due to noxious gases being expelled into the atmosphere, and dependence on grid energy. While there are boundless benefits offered by CHP, let’s take a deeper look at how this technology is key player in reducing the amount of pollution released into the atmosphere, as well as how CHP proves to be the most environmentally friendly efficient technology available.
CHP For An Environmentally Friendly Future
While the debate on what is the main cause of air pollution still continues to shift from one source to another, there are some facts that we just can’t ignore anymore.
One of the largest contributing factors to air pollution comes from energy production facilities, especially those located on U.S. soil. Power plants located in the United States are the main culprits for nearly two-thirds of the nation’s sulfur dioxide emissions. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “ Sulfur dioxide is a major air pollutant and has significant impacts on human health”. Michael Hogan goes on to say, in Encyclopedia of the Earth,“the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere can influence the habitat suitability for plant communities, as well as animal life.”
In addition to sulfur dioxide emissions, power plants are also responsible for a quarter of nitrogen-oxide emissions and a third of both mercury and carbon dioxide emissions, all of which are considered to be greenhouse gases and potentially toxic at high levels.
Air pollutant emissions are so high from energy production because of the way that energy is currently being produced at these power plants. The heat and the pollutants mentioned above that are created by power plants using fossil fuel ( a staggering 65% of U.S. electricity production comes from fossil fueled power plants) are being expelled into the atmosphere everyday, with nothing set in place to reclaim this heat and “reuse” it- except CHP.
CHP is able to capture the heat and air pollutants and use it for more energy production! So just how environmentally friendly is CHP? Combined Heat and Power is able to capture up to 98% of the heat that otherwise would have been expelled into the atmosphere. This heat is then cleaned and used in the hot water system, absorption chillers, pools, snowmelt, or any number of applications.
So just imagine, 65% of the United States’ energy production facilities, could reduce their air pollution emission by almost 100% just by switching to Co-generation