Combined Heat and Power

Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is the concurrent production of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy (heating and/or cooling) from a single source of energy. Typically, CHP is sited at or near the point of consumption, such as a manufacturing or wastewater treatment plant, and can be deployed quickly, cost-effectively, and with few geographic limitations. A number of technology options exist for CHP; a variety of fuels can be used to generate electricity or power, allowing the heat that would normally be lost in the power generation process to be recovered to provide needed heating and/or cooling. It has been employed for many years, mostly in industrial, large commercial, and institutional applications.

CHP may not be widely recognized, but it has quietly been providing highly efficient electricity and process heat to some of the most vital industries, largest employers, urban centers, and campuses in the United States. Numerous Better Plants partners use CHP to supply heat and power to some of their key plants. It is reasonable to expect CHP applications to operate at 65-75% efficiency, a large improvement over the national average of ~50% for these services when separately provided.

You can read related TIP SHEETS AND PUBLICATIONS to improve performance and save energy.

Explore additional resources specific to Better Plants partners and connect with the combined heat and power-subject matter expert below.


Learn about innovative, replicable combined heat and power-solutions and best practices implemented by Better Plants Challenge partners and others.

Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority: Omnivore Co-Digester and Recuperative Thickener

Installing a 330,000 gallon Omnivore Co-Digestion and Recuperative Thickener unit enabled Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority to install two 800 KW CHP units in mid-2015 that utilizes all resulting the biogas to produce heat for operations and electricity to displace grid-purchased electricity.

Solution at a Glance: CHP Installation Database

This database contains a comprehensive listing of combined heat and power installations throughout the country and includes installations of all sizes, from large industrial systems that are hundreds of megawatts in size to small commercial microturbine and fuel cell systems that are tens of kilowatts.

Solution at a Glance: CHP Project Profiles Database

In this database, more than 130 CHP Project Profiles compiled by DOE's CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships (TAPs) can be searched by a variety of characteristics.

Subject Matter Expert - Paul Lemar

Paul has over 30 years of experience in engineering, economic and environmental analysis of combined heat and power technologies and distributed generation. He advises the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership, as well as individual manufacturers and research organizations on the feasibility of CHP and other energy efficiency technology, and has published numerous CHP studies. Paul has directed numerous economic feasibility analyses and market studies of onsite power systems, facility energy costs, and energy storage technologies. He is currently serving his sixth term as the Treasurer of the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA). Paul holds a B.S., Mechanical Engineering and an M.B.A., both from the University of Maryland.

You can reach Paul with CHP-related questions at