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Kinsley Energy Systems FAQs

What is combined heat and power, CHP?

Combined heat and power refers to recovering waste heat when electricity is generated and using it to create high temperature hot water or steam. Steam or hot water can then be used for space heating, producing domestic hot water, or powering dehumidifiers and water chillers for air conditioning.

Why is there so much current interest in CHP?

There are two different driving forces behind CHP. First, recent problems in electrical supply and distribution have heightened concerns about availability and the cost of electricity. These have led in turn to interest in distributed generation and subsequently use of waste heat from power generation. If coal or natural gas is burned at a power plant to produce electricity, less than a third of the energy content of the fuel is delivered to customers as useful power. The "resource efficiency" is less than 33%. If a CHP plant captures 68% of the energy in the exhaust gas and for space heating or hot water, the resource efficiency becomes 78% (0.33 + 0.68*0.67). Much more of the fuel energy content is used; fossil fuels consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced.

Is CHP the same as co-generation?

CHP and co-generation are basically the same thing, although co-generation has been identified with district heating and large utility owned power plants or industrial power production and plant operation. CHP is generally a smaller scale, privately owned operation. It frequently refers to generation of heat and power for university campuses, military bases, hospitals and hotels. New technologies for small scale power production are opening opportunities for CHP in medium and small sized buildings.

What is the difference between CHP, CCHP, BCHP, DER, IES?

Many new terms and acronyms are entering common usage that means basically the same thing: generation of electricity near the customer's facility so that waste heat can be recovered and used. The terms differ in where the emphasis is placed. CCHP stresses that combined cooling, heating, and power production occur, whereas combined heating and power in CHP may or may not use the recovered heat for cooling purposes. BCHP is just CHP applied to a building as opposed to a district heating system or industrial process. DER is distributed energy resources, the use of small generating facilities distributed close to the consumers either with or without heat recovery. IES is an integrated energy system that recovers waste heat from on-site or near-site power generation to provide hot water, steam, heating, cooling or dehumidifying air for buildings.

Why can't I use my back-up generator for on-site power production?

The primary problem with using back-up generators for on-site power generation concerns their emissions, NOx and SOx, although noise and durability can also be problems. Most urban areas limit the maximum number of hours that IC engine driven backup generators can be operated each year because of their NOx and SOx emission levels. Generators for CHP systems can operate upwards of 8000 hours per year which greatly exceed backup generator usage, typically limited to less than 200 hours per year. Some models may be able to handle such high usage, others may not.

Back-up generators have been around for decades, what is new about on-site power generation?

Recent developments have pushed to make on-site power generation cleaner, cheaper and quieter. Back-up generators typically use internal combustion engines with a multitude of moving parts and relatively high emissions of pollutants NOx and SOx.

Why does Reciprocating Engine technology dominate?

Lower installed costs
Several established manufacturers with numerous products, well-established sales and service infrastructure
Excellent load-following characteristics
Versatility in operation, fuels
Fast start-up to full load operation
Relatively low exhaust gas emissions levels
Excellent operational performance at variable loads and high ambient temperatures
Proven reliability and operating costs
Significant heat recovery potential
Operator familiarity with maintenance

What types of power generators are common and can I buy from Kinsley Energy Systems?

The most common type of onsite power generation is using an IC engine-driven generator. They are available in a broad range of capacities and can have very high efficiencies. Kinsley offers gas engines ranging from 400kw to 4MW electric outputs for Natural Gas, Land Fill Gas, Biogas and other gaseous fuels.

How are generators classified, i.e. what is a kW?

Generators are classified by the "combustion" system and their rated electrical output. The electrical output or capacity is the number of kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (MW) of power generated. A kilowatt or megawatt is a measure of the rate of energy use or production. How much energy is consumed or produced is measured in kilowatt- or megawatt-hours. One kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts. A 100 watt light bulb has an electrical load of 0.100 kilowatts; if the bulb is left on for 10 hours it consumes 1000 watt-hours or 1.0 kilowatt-hours (kWh).

What is an HRSG (HRB)?

A heat recovery steam generator, or HRSG, is used to recover energy from the hot exhaust gases in power generation. It is a bank of tubes that is mounted in the exhaust stack. Exhaust gases at as much as 1000°F heat the tubes. Water pumped through the tubes can be held under high pressure to temperatures of 370°F or higher or it can be boiled to produce steam. The HRSG separates the caustic compounds in the flue gases from the occupants and equipment that use the waste heat.

What is a chiller?

Most small, typically residential, buildings use a forced air distribution system to provide hot or cold air for comfort conditioning. Large buildings frequently use a hydronic distribution system and pump chilled water to air handling units to provide cool air for air conditioning. A chiller is the machine that cools water to around 44°F for distribution to the air handling units.

What is a cooling tower?

Every type of air conditioning or refrigeration process is a means of moving heat from where it is not wanted to medium where it can be rejected. The radiator of a car is a dry, finned-tube heat exchanger that is used to reject engine heat to the outdoor air efficiently. A cooling tower is essentially a wet heat exchanger used to reject heat from a chiller or excess heat from a HRSG. The water spray over tube banks in a cooling tower is more efficient at rejecting heat than a dry heat exchanger. It allows lower operating pressures in the chiller and greater efficiencies.

What is power conditioning?

Utilities in the U.S. distribute electricity at standard conditions with specifications for voltage, frequency and type. Consequently most of our electrical appliances are designed for 60 Hz, alternating current. Power conditioning is the process of taking whatever electricity is produced by a generator and converting it to meet the industry standards so it can be used without damaging whatever is plugged in, be it a hair dryer, television or computer. Power conditioning is an essential part of on-site power generation.

What is NOx and why is it called a pollutant?

NOx is an abbreviation or acronym used to refer to nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Both of these chemical compounds contribute to urban smog and can contribute to acid rain so their emissions are carefully controlled by government agencies. They can be formed during high temperature combustion from nitrogen in the air. Careful control of the combustion process or treatment of exhaust gases is needed to keep emissions low.

What is an SCR?

SCR is an acronym for selective catalytic reduction and is a process for removing NOx from exhaust gases in order to meet pollution control requirements.