Sunday, May 30, 2010
Well ahead of my once-a-year pace of writing about combined heat and power (CHP), it's already time for another blog posting on the subject. An updated combined heat and power database shows additions in Washington state during the past two years: a couple manure digesters and a small wastewater treatment plant started running engines on biogas, while a landfill is producing upgraded renewable natural gas and a paper mill now burns its waste for process heat and electricity.
Farm Power Rexville keeps running steadily, so not much news to add there. But manure-to-energy continues to be a favorite media topic: a cow-powered data center concept by Hewlett-Packard engineers got lots of attention. While the overall concept isn't news to us, the paper also described cooling with waste heat from engine-generators by "silica gel-water adsorption chillers" which "can be driven by near-ambient temperature heat."
The diagram above shows an elegantly-integrated system capable of providing electricity, heat, and cooling at higher efficiency than anything else I've seen. A boiler allows optimizing of heat output or upgrading hot water to steam. Even if other renewable energy technologies struggle for traction as the era of stimulus draws to a close, the future of ever-smarter CHP gets brighter and brighter.