CHP Technology

Different CHP Technology Approaches

Combined heat and power (CHP) technology has been around for over one hundred years since Thomas Edison launched the first commercial power grid, The “Pearl Street Station”, in lower Manhattan in 1882. The offices of The New York Times, one of Edison’s earliest electricity customers, reported lighting provided by Pearl Street was “soft, mellow, and grateful to the eye.”

Combined heat and power systems offer many advantages including the ability to utilize the heat that is normally wasted when electricity is being generated. In fact, 65% of all of the energy that goes into generating electricity at your local utility is wasted. It literally goes “up the stack” in the form of waste heat.

However, not all CHP is created equal. The majority of combined heat and power systems on the market today are still highly inefficient at approximately 75% efficiency. This means that at least twenty five percent of the energy being input into their systems is wasted. This leads to higher operating costs and increased emissions.

The main reason for this lack of efficiency is the technology being used is not capable of achieving a high level of “combustion efficiency”.

There are two main types of CHP systems available today:

Internal Combustion Engines

Internal Combustion Engines. (ICE’s)

Internal combustion engines are exactly the same as the engines that are found in your automobile. The combustion efficiency of any combined heat and power system that uses an ICE is only in the 30% range. Low combustion efficiency is the reason that cars suffer from poor gas mileage and have high Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This type of CHP system requires all of the same pollution controls and have the same maintenance requirements as your car does. (Spark plugs, oil changes, filter etc.) They have hundreds of parts just like an automobile which can lead to higher maintenance costs over time and tend to take up quite a bit of space. Many of these systems are noisy and cannot be installed in doors.
Combustion Gas Turbines

Combustion Gas Turbines (CGT’s)

Combustion gas turbines are similar to internal combustion engines in that the combustion process occurs within the engine itself. (Similar to your automobile’s engine). As hot air expands it pushes against turbine blades connected to a shaft. The shaft is connected to a generator. As the shaft spins the generator, electricity is produced. CGT’s tend to be very complex and therefore can be very expensive. They can achieve combustion efficiency in the 35% range. One of the downfalls of CGT’s is they do not modulate. In other words they are always on full blast even in cases where you may not need all of the electricity or heat being generated. This can lead to the excess heat and power being dumped.
NextGrid's CHP systems combustion efficiency is in the 95% range.
There are other CHP technologies available such as reciprocating engines. However these tend to be very expensive and unreliable. NextGrid CHP systems are based on patented superior technology. They do not use internal combustion engines, combustion gas turbines or reciprocating engines. Our technology enjoys combustion efficiency of up to 95%. This is far better than any CHP technology on the market today.