District energy, also called district heating or district cooling, can play an important part in improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. Combined heat and power (CHP) technology can act as a core component of a distributed energy scheme. In hot countries combined cooling, heat and power technology may be more advantageous.
Gas engines can be configured for cogeneration, providing electricity and heat that can be used for heating as part of a district heating scheme. Gas engines can also be configured for trigeneration, where, in addition to the benefits of CHP, cooling can be provided using absorption chillers for use in air conditioning or refrigeration systems.
District energy provides several valuable benefits including:
- Improved energy efficiency
- Reduced costs
- Enhanced environmental protection
- Fuel flexibility
- Ease of operation and maintenance
- Reliability and resilience of power supplies
- Comfort and convenience for consumers
Distributed energy relates to the provision of embedded generation facilities for the delivery of energy efficiency. Generators are located close to the area of use and are configured for CHP. Generation of electricity close to the end user helps to reduce losses associated with transmission. Heat from the combustion process can be captured as hot water and used for heating close to the source of generation. The overall fuel efficiency of distributed energy schemes using CHP engines can be in excess of 90%. The localised generation of power through a captive power plant can also help to improve resilience.
To learn more about how district energy schemes can be supported by a gas engine for electricity, heating and/or cooling, please contact your local Clarke Energy office for more information.