Combined Heat and Power Focus

DECC's Free resource supporting the development of CHP

CHP Helpline 0845 365 5153 or 01235 753033

CHP Benefits



Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is the simultaneous generation of usable heat and power (usually electricity) in a single process.

The technology is both proven and very reliable. In its simplest form, it employs a gas turbine, an engine or a steam turbine to drive an alternator, and the resulting electricity is used wholly or partially on-site. The heat produced during power generation is recovered, usually in a heat recovery boiler , and can be used to raise steam, to provide hot water for space heating and other uses, and, increasingly, for cooling.

Because CHP systems make extensive use of the heat produced during electricity generation, they can achieve overall efficiencies in excess of 80% at the point of use. The efficiency of a conventional coal-fired power station, which discards a significant amount of heat to atmosphere, is typically about 38% at the power station. Efficiency at the point of use is lower still because of the losses that occur during transmission and distribution.

The financial benefits of CHP are reflected in substantial reductions in a company’s energy bill, although the level of savings depends on the financing/development arrangements. A company that funds the purchase of a CHP plant out of existing resources will maximise the level of savings that it can achieve. A company that sets up a contract whereby an external contractor installs and operates a CHP plant on the company’s site and provides the company with heat and power (an integrated energy services contract) has a more limited outlay but receives a smaller share of the overall savings.

The high level of efficiency achieved has important environmental benefits. For every unit of energy (heat or electricity) produced by a CHP plant from its input fuel, the levels of Carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and sulphur dioxide emitted are less than half of those associated with a conventional coal-fired power station.

For many companies with a substantial and consistent demand for heat and power, CHP is a viable energy supply option. It provides a cost-effective alternative to the conventional generation of heat and to the purchase of electricity from external sources. Furthermore, CHP is not only relevant to existing sites; it offers important benefits in a new-build or total refurbishment situation and should be given full consideration at an early stage in the process.


The benefits of CHP - A proven and reliable technology:

  • Substantial financial benefits.
  • Environmental benefits through emissions reduction per unit of energy produced.
  • Improvements in security of site energy supplies.
  • High overall efficiency – 80% or more at the point of use.
  • A feasible alternative energy supply option for many companies.

Energy supply is not a component of core activities for most companies, and a CHP plant represents a significant investment in plant and resources; it is therefore important to consider the financial and environmental benefits at an early stage.


Other Topics


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Next: Government support for CHP

What's New

UK CHP Development Map

UK CHP Development Map

UK CHP Development Map

UK CHP Development Map Screenshot

The UK CHP Development Tool is the latest version of the map, originally developed as a tool aimed at assisting power station developers consider the opportunities for supplying heat and development of combined heat and power (CHP) as required under planning policy. However, it can also be used by both small and large organisations to help identify the locations where the supply of CHP heat would have the greatest potential, and therefore the largest positive environmental impact.

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