Combined heating, power and cooling


Through trigeneration, or CCHP technologies, heat, cold and electricity can be generated all in one high-tech process. Take a look at how it works and how it is used!

Image Copyright: Digitalstock/ 213049

© Digitalstock/ 213049

Business and industry rely on low energy prices in order to stay competitive. Combined heat and power (CHP) plants, e.g. cogeneration units, provide a means of remaining more independent of market development and generating power and heat autonomously in an efficient manner. Based on the principle of combined heat and power production, these plants generate not only electricity, but also useful heat as a product of the thermal energy released during electricity generation.

The plants are suitable for use in industry, buildings and agriculture. For supermarkets, public buildings, manufacturing industry and other operations that require cooling as well as heating, it makes sense to add a thermal cooling unit. Combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) plants are capable of generating all of these forms of energy simultaneously: to do so, they convert a portion of the waste heat into cold. German manufacturers have specialised in industrial applications of this technology and can develop customised solutions to suit any requirements.

A closer look: Combined heat and power (CHP) and combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP)

Image Copyright: Gerhard Hirn/Bine Information Service

© Gerhard Hirn/Bine Information Service

It is possible to generate multiple types of energy at once from one resource or within a single production process.

When thermal and electrical or mechanical energy are generated through a chemical or physical process simultaneously, this is referred to as cogeneration or a combined heat and power (CHP) system. CHP systems thereby manage to recover the heat produced as a by-product of an electricity generation process and allow this thermal energy to be used in the form of heating or transformed into cooling agents (the latter usually with the help of an absorption refrigerator). In cases where the thermal energy generated in this manner is used for both heating and cooling, this process is called trigeneration or combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP).

Trigeneration is the most efficient way of producing and using energy, while a cogeneration system still outperforms any process in which excess heat is not used at all. The efficiency of the energy generation system is therefore maximised by minimising the amount of waste energy. Generally, these technology options can be applied anywhere, in factories, private housing or other buildings.