Energy efficiency is fundamental in determining modern industrial policies for highly competitive markets that require each specific cost item to be optimised.
This strategic role given to cogeneration is also recognised at an institutional level. Based on data published by ENEA, Italy’s agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development, energy savings of up to 30% can be had from cogeneration. This important result is due to the fact that at a plant for electrical energy production alone, 50-60% of the energy is dispersed in the environment, while at a CHP plant, this figure comes to about 15%. Up to 85% of the energy introduced with the fuel (for example methane) is exploited in a useful way.
This results in increased energy efficiency, savings on fuel procurement, as well as reduced emissions of pollutant agents and greenhouse gases.
This is why the European Parliament promotes cogeneration as one of the solutions to achieving the targets of the Kyoto Protocol. In particular, Directive 2004/8/EC is entirely dedicated to promoting cogeneration, introducing the concept of high-efficiency cogeneration, i.e. the production of units of electricity and heat that guarantees a significant saving in primary energy compared to separate plants. The Directive was also implemented in Italy, through Legislative Decree 20 of 2007.
High efficiency cogeneration plants can deliver optimal energy efficiency results, with the advantage of managing the production of a continual, safe flow of electrical and thermal energy. In many cases, high efficiency cogeneration is a driver of growth and an opportunity for various manufacturing sectors in the competitive scenario of globalisation.
Cogeneration is therefore the most suitable choice for lower energy costs, as fuel is used more efficiently, lowering CO2 emissions as well.