Advanced International Studies Unit, Battelle Memorial Institute

Combined Heat and Power Systems in China

China is currently the second largest energy consumer on the planet, using up to 10 percent of the world’s energy every year. It is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, lagging only behind the United States and Russia. China’s energy demand is expected to grow 4 to 5 percent annually through 2015, especially as more and more consumers gain access to household appliances and as rural areas are electrified. Coal accounts for 75 percent of China’s energy production, and a large proportion of its health problems. According to the World Bank, 75 million asthma attacks and 6 million emergency room visits could be avoided annually if China’s air quality was raised to world standards.

China is ripe for alternatives such as cogeneration, a relatively small power system supplied by natural gas (or other fuels such as biogas) that produces both electricity and heat. Cogeneration used to be quite common in US factories until the emergence of inexpensive oil and electricity. Cogeneration is now seeing a renaissance. Cogeneration is ideal for use in hospitals, schools, small factories, and apartment buildings. It is highly efficient, less-polluting, and reliable.

 

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