What is Cogeneration?

Cogeneration or Combined Heat & Power (CHP) systems are packaged power plants that provide reliable onsite generation and energy efficiency. The process of generating electricity also generates heat. In traditional simple-cycle power plants that heat is treated as a by-product and allowed to go to waste. Onsite CHP or “Cogen” systems are much more efficient. They generate electricity and capture the heat through heat exchangers, using it as a source for hot water, heating and even cooling (A “Trigen” system converts the heat to cooling through an absorption chiller).

Cogeneration Efficiency

Natural Gas Input – 100 Units
Electricity Output – 31 Units
Heat Output – 55 Units
Energy Efficiency – 86%
As you can see in the chart, a Cogen System uses 86% of the energy in a unit of fuel – that’s energy efficiency.

Operational, financial and environmental benefits

  • Reduced utility bills
  • Reliable on-site power
  • Back-up power capability
  • Highly efficient energy production
  • Strong return on investment
  • Typically 2-4 year payback
  • Fueled by clean natural gas
  • Reduce carbon emissions
  • Qualifies as an Alternative Energy Solution


Co-Energy America designs units with electrical outputs ranging from 60 kW up to 1 MW. The system works in tandem with the electrical utility power grid and generally provides 50% or more of your electrical requirements. The balance continues to be provided by your local utility. The heat by-product is recovered through a highly efficient process, and can be used for domestic hot water, space heating, cooling, and other industrial processes.

YANMAR’s Energy Systems division began operation in 1984 and has installed over 6,000 CHP units worldwide. Using a YANMAR-designed, lean-burn Miller Cycle Gas Engine, which was developed from the company’s world-class diesel engine technology, these environmentally friendly systems are designed for reliability, efficiency, energy conservation, comfort and long-term savings.

Is cogeneration right for you?

We are always looking for sites with large and constant heat and electric demands. As a filter we like to see thermal usage or heating needs being greater than 4,000 therms/mo. Here’s a list of typical locations:
  • Apartments, Co-ops and Condominiums
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Nursing Homes
  • Senior Housing
  • Colleges and Institutions
  • Schools / Community Centers
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Athletic Clubs
  • Industrial Facilities

If you have an idea for a site, you should gather the past 12 months of energy costs. This includes your itemized utility bills (gas and electric) and any costs associated with backup power. With that info we can quickly assess the feasibility of the site. And remember, we offer a finder’s fee should a project go forward. Call or email ctchilds@coenergyamerica.com or rhm@coenergyamerica.com.