The International Energy Agency (IEA) maintains that an energy revolution is necessary in order to counteract global warming and in order to reduce the world’s present unsustainable dependence on fossil fuels. Furthermore, the IEA holds that co-generation must play a major part in this revolution.
Less than 35% of the total primary energy input in thermal power plants is converted into electricity. More than 60% of the primary energy is converted into heat in the process – and only ten percent of this heat is utilized beneficially.
This means that, in power production, more than half of all fuel is wasted. The energy lost glob- ally in power generation represents a significant missed opportunity for savings both in energy cost and in CO2 emissions.
Electricity consumption constitutes 17% of total final energy consumption, while heat which is produced for direct consumption constitutes 47%. More than 75% of this heat is produced from fossil fuels. The potential benefits to be gained by replacing this heat with CHP (Combined Heat and Power), and also by the subsequent re-use and polyuse are probably large and remain to be explored.
Heat can be used even more efficiently by incorporating water treatment.