Course Summary & Description:
This course reviews a U.S. Department of Energy sponsored investigation on the development efforts of air-cooled LiBr Absorption in combined heat and power systems for light commercial applications.
Combined heat and power (CHP) or “cogeneration” technologies have been used in large industrial and commercial applications for many years. In fact, cogeneration technology can be traced back to Thomas Edison’s 1882 Pearl Street Station power plant in Lower Manhattan. In the 129 years since the Pearl Street power plant opened, engineers and scientists have discovered ways to not only improve the cogeneration process, but also how to build more efficient equipment.
Today, while various options exist to power the CHP process, the two most common central plants consist of either a gas turbine/engine or a coupled boiler and steam turbine. In both cases, this central plant powers a generator providing the facility’s electrical power while the plant’s waste heat is captured and used to produce steam, heat water or power heating/cooling equipment.
Although CHP systems offer specific benefits like increased efficiency, improved power reliability, decreased utility costs and reduced environmental impacts, they are not suitable for every project. Facilities failing to meet a number of prerequisite conditions like high electrical energy costs, de-regulated utilities or year-round thermal loads are not viable projects. The facilities that do utilize CHP systems are limited to a cooling tower to discharge heat into the atmosphere. In some cases, the cooling tower could prove insurmountable to implement the CHP technology, specifically in smaller commercial projects. However, the development of an air-cooled absorption system could open an entire new market share to CHP systems.