What is Combined Heat & Power (CHP)

Combined heat and power (CHP) is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single fuel source. It is also known as “cogeneration”. The heat is recovered and used to heat water and/or for space heating. In most applications today heat and power are generated separately resulting in high fuel consumption and higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Cogeneration is a highly efficient form of energy conversion and it can achieve energy (fuel and electricity) savings of 40% or more when compared to the separate purchase of electricity from a local electrical utility and using a natural gas boiler for onsite heating.

How Does a NextGrid Combined Heat and Power System Work?

A NextGrid CHP system utilizes an external combustion engine to generate heat. This heat is converted into a small amount of steam (similar to an espresso machine). The steam enters a turbine that generates electricity. After the steam exits the turbine it is cooled with a condenser. The condenser converts the steam back into water to be used again. Heat from the condensing process is captured for use in heating water and/or space heating.

Do NextGrid CHP Systems Use a lot of Water to Generate Steam?

No. In fact our smallest CHP system (GT 1500) uses about 10 ounces (300 ML) per minute. That’s about the size of a pop can. Our CHP systems work on a closed loop. This means that they use the same water over and over again as it is heated and cooled in a continuous cycle.

Is there any danger from a steam explosion?

No. NextGrid CHP systems use what are known as Once Through Steam Generators. This means that steam is never stored under pressure and are therefore not considered a pressure vessel. As soon as the steam is created it enters the turbine where it begins to cool immediately.

Is an operator required to be present?

No. NextGrid CHP systems do not use pressure vessels to generate steam. They are completely automated and do not require a person to be present for operating.

What type of fuel can be used?

Because NextGrid utilizes an external combustion engine to generate heat, theoretically, any type of fuel can be used to operate these systems including biomass and waste heat. However NextGrid has standard systems operate on natural gas or propane.

How much electricity can NextGrid CHP systems generate?

A NextGrid CHP system can generate between 1.5 KW/hr to 45 KW/hr. Systems can be “stacked” to generate pretty much unlimited amounts of electricity.

How much heat can you generate?

It depends on the size of the system. Our smallest system will generate up to ~45000 BTU/hr. Our largest system can generate up to 1 million BTU of heat per hour.

Do I need to remove my existing boiler?

No. Our systems are very compact (about the size of a fridge) and can usually fit into existing boiler rooms beside the existing equipment.

Do you need to connect to the electrical grid?

No. Our systems are designed to operate behind the meter. This means that no electricity is ever sent to the grid.

Are they UL/CSA approved?

Yes, all of NextGrid CHP systems are UL/CSA approved for use in North America.

Do I need a special permit to have a system installed?

No. NextGrid CHP systems do not require any special permits to operate.

How big are these systems?

A NextGrid CHP system is very compact. Our smallest unit is about the size of a typical dishwasher. Our larger units are about the size of a standard fridge.