U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Advanced Manufacturing Office – Industrial Distributed Energy

Industry Profile

The largest energy consuming industrial sectors account for the largest share of CHP capacity; namely: Chemicals (30%), Petroleum Refining (17%), and Paper Products (14%).  Other industrial sectors include: Commercial/Institutional (12%), Food (8%), Primary Metals (5%), Other Manufacturing (8%), and Other Industrial (6%).

Existing CHP Capacity (85 gigawatts [GW])
Source: EEA, Inc. CHP Installation Database

Combined heat and power (CHP)—sometimes referred to as cogeneration—involves the sequential process of producing and utilizing electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel. CHP is widely recognized to save energy and costs, while reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants. CHP is a realistic, near-term option for large energy efficiency improvements and significant CO2 reductions.

While CHP is a well-established practice in large industrial processes with sizable electricity and thermal loads, analyses indicate a largely untapped potential exists for applications less than 50 megawatts (MW) in electrical demand. Increased CHP deployment can help companies reduce their energy intensity and carbon emissions.

Industrial demand accounts for approximately one-third of U.S. energy and represents significant opportunities for energy savings. Relative to the separate generation of electricity and heat, CHP is one of the most effective, commercially available alternatives for accomplishing sizable near-term energy savings and corresponding greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. A fully developed CHP market can lower energy consumption, offset imported oil, create job opportunities, and improve the overall economic competitiveness of the United States.