Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Combined Heat and Power Partnership

Frequent Questions

EPA's CHP Partnership

What is EPA's CHP Partnership?

The CHP Partnership seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of electric power generation by promoting the use of CHP. The Partnership works closely with energy users; the CHP industry; state, local, and tribal governments; clean air officials; and other clean energy stakeholders to facilitate the development of new projects.

The Partnership offers:

Visit "About Us" for more information.

How do I contact the CHP Partnership?

If you have questions or comments about the Partnership or any of the tools or services that we offer, please e-mail chp@epa.gov or call (703) 373-8108. You can also contact us through the Contact Us page.

Who are the CHP Partners?

Partners of EPA's CHP Partnership are organizations committed to improving the efficiency of the U.S. energy infrastructure and reducing the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Partners include CHP project developers and consultants, energy users, energy service companies, equipment manufacturers, clean air officials, and state, local, and tribal governments. For a full list of our Partners, visit the CHP Partners page.

How does my organization join the CHP Partnership?

If you are interested in joining, please visit "Steps to Becoming a Partner."

EPA welcomes the following types of organizations as Partners:

  • CHP project developers, consultants/engineers, and equipment manufacturers
  • Energy end users in the industrial, commercial, district energy, and multi-family residential sectors
  • Clean air officials
  • Energy, environmental, and economic development agencies
  • Utilities
  • Nongovernmental organizations
  • Financiers
  • Other relevant CHP stakeholders

What are the benefits of joining the CHP Partnership?

Partners of the EPA CHP Partnership enjoy access to a variety of tools and services designed to facilitate and promote Partners' development of CHP projects. In addition to the information, tools, and resources available on the Partnership’s website, Partners have access to the following additional benefits:

  • Association with EPA through a demonstrated commitment to CHP
  • Expert advice and answers to questions
  • CHP news
  • Marketing resources
  • Publicity and recognition

Visit "Benefits of Partnership" for a complete listing of Partner benefits.

Top of page

CHP Basics

What is CHP?

Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single fuel source, such as natural gas, biomass, biogas, coal, waste heat, or oil. CHP is not a single technology, but an integrated energy system that can be modified depending upon the needs of the energy end user. By installing a CHP system designed to meet the thermal and electrical base loads of a facility, CHP can greatly increase the facility's operational efficiency and decrease energy costs. More information can be found on the Basic Information page.

How does CHP work, and what are the key technologies?

CHP systems consist of a number of individual components configured into an integrated whole. These components include the prime mover (i.e., heat engine), generator, heat recovery, and electrical interconnection. The type of equipment that drives the overall system (i.e., the prime mover) typically identifies the CHP system. Prime movers for CHP systems include reciprocating engines, combustion or gas turbines, steam turbines, microturbines, and fuel cells. Detailed information about how CHP technologies work along with cost and performance information can be found in the Catalog of CHP Technologies.

What fuels can be used in CHP systems?

CHP systems are "fuel-neutral," which means that they can run on a variety of fuel types, such as natural gas, biomass, biogas, coal, waste heat, or oil. The type of fuel used depends on availability and the type of prime mover employed. More information about the fuels available for different prime movers can be found in the Catalog of CHP Technologies. In addition, information specific to biomass-fueled CHP can be found on the Biomass CHP page and in the Biomass CHP Catalog of Technologies.

What are the benefits of CHP?

CHP plays an important role in meeting U.S. energy needs as well as in reducing the environmental impact of power generation. Benefits include:

  • Efficiency Benefits: CHP requires less fuel to produce a given energy output, and avoids transmission and distribution losses that occur when electricity travels over power lines.
  • Reliability Benefits: CHP can be designed to provide high-quality electricity and thermal energy to a site regardless of what might occur on the power grid, decreasing the impact of outages and improving power quality for sensitive equipment.
  • Environmental Benefits: Because less fuel is burned to produce each unit of energy output, CHP reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Economic Benefits: CHP can save facilities considerable money on their energy bills due to its high efficiency and can provide a hedge against unstable energy costs.

Where does CHP make sense?

CHP is ideally suited for applications that have coincident thermal and power loads. CHP is most economical in applications that have high thermal loads and in areas where electricity costs more than $0.07/kilowatt-hour on average. CHP technology has been successfully installed in a wide variety of energy-intensive facility types and sizes nationwide, including:

  • Industrial manufacturers - chemical, refining, ethanol, pulp and paper, food processing, glass manufacturing
  • Institutions - colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons, military bases
  • Commercial buildings - hotels and casinos, airports, high-tech campuses, large office buildings, nursing homes
  • Municipal - district energy systems, wastewater treatment facilities, K-12 schools
  • Residential - multi-family housing, planned communities

The CHP Partnership has targeted some of its analysis and outreach efforts to increase awareness and adoption in three strategic market sectors: dry mill ethanol production, hotels and casinos, and municipal wastewater treatment facilities, and utilities. More information about these sectors can be found on the CHP Markets page.

How are CHP projects developed?

CHP project development usually entails five distinct stages: qualification, level 1 feasibility analysis, level 2 feasibility analysis, procurement, and operations and maintenance. The Project Development page provides information, tools, and hints on each of these stages of development, as well as information about how to access the assistance of the CHP Partnership.

Top of page

Jump to main content.