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Cogeneration and Trigeneration


Maximising the output of an energy source is key to improving energy efficiencies, and is also the main principal of co- and trigeneration technologies.

Co- and trigeneration also increase energy efficiency because they are a form of decentralised energy, where the electricity they produce is often used onsite or nearby, lowering the energy lost through transmission.

How it works

Cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), is the simultaneous production of useful heat and electricity from a single fuel source.

Trigeneration, or combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP), is the production of three useful energies – heat, power and chilled water.

Co- and trigeneration technologies are versatile in that they can use renewable or non-renewable fuels – such as coal or, more commonly, natural gas – and are employed for small and large scale, or industrial applications.

Waste heat in a co- or trigeneration system can be used for space heating, hot water, for refrigeration and to operate absorption chillers for cooling. It is also used by industry for chemical and biological processes.

Co- and trigeneration in the Australian market

Maximising the output of an energy source is key to improving energy efficiencies, and is also the main principal of co- and trigeneration technologies.

Co- and trigeneration also increase energy efficiency because they are a form of decentralised energy, where the electricity they produce is often used onsite or nearby, lowering the energy lost through transmission.

How it works

Cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), is the simultaneous production of useful heat and electricity from a single fuel source.

Trigeneration, or combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP), is the production of three useful energies – heat, power and chilled water.

Co- and trigeneration technologies are versatile in that they can use renewable or non-renewable fuels – such as coal or, more commonly, natural gas – and are employed for small and large scale, or industrial applications.

Waste heat in a co- or trigeneration system can be used for space heating, hot water, for refrigeration and to operate absorption chillers for cooling. It is also used by industry for chemical and biological processes.

Co- and trigeneration in the Australian market

According to the Clean Energy Council, coal-fired power plants are typically only 30 per cent efficient in converting the energy of the fuel into electricity, with the majority of the energy lost as waste heat.

If the waste heat is also used, either for direct use or for energy generation, however, efficiencies of 70 per cent and above are achieved.

Future prospects

With the increasing use of natural gas in Australia’s short and medium term power generation future, co- and trigeneration technologies will continue to play a vital role in energy efficiency and emission reduction.

These technologies are also important because of their versatility – they can increase the efficiencies of renewable as well as fossil fuel energy sources, and are suited for small, medium and large scale applications.

According to the Clean Energy Council, coal-fired power plants are typically only 30 per cent efficient in converting the energy of the fuel into electricity, with the majority of the energy lost as waste heat.

If the waste heat is also used, either for direct use or for energy generation, however, efficiencies of 70 per cent and above are achieved.

Future prospects

With the increasing use of natural gas in Australia’s short and medium term power generation future, co- and trigeneration technologies will continue to play a vital role in energy efficiency and emission reduction.

These technologies are also important because of their versatility – they can increase the efficiencies of renewable as well as fossil fuel energy sources, and are suited for small, medium and large scale applications.

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