warm thoughts


Written on: November 7, 2022

Combined Heat and Power Generation with Propane is the Clean Solution

Gokul Vishwanathan

WASHINGTON, – The third annual National Summit on Combined Heat and Power convened in Washington D.C. on Nov. 2 and 3 to debate how technology advances in combined heat and power (CHP) generation could replace diesel-fueled units by the end of the decade. CHP systems operate independently of the electric grid and produce significantly fewer emissions than diesel options.

A panel of experts led by Dr. Gokul Vishwanathan, Director of Research & Sustainability for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) discussed how the tremendous growth in CHP generation driven by grid fragility along with decarbonization mandates are converging to create a sea change in both the prime and backup power generation industries.

“Extreme weather events, ozone pollution, and carbon emissions are re-wiring the power generation market,” said PERC’s Dr. Gokul Vishwanathan. “Average homeowners are now adding resiliency to their remodeling or new construction checklists, and because of climate change regulation and future tax credits, the clean energy solution for their backup power is going to be propane.”

Relative to diesel, propane engines provide an excellent option in improving air quality, particularly by reducing NOx and particulate matter. CO2 emissions reduction can be significantly enabled using optimized propane engines as well. One example is the Siemens SG series lean burn engine that operates with a variable compression ratio of 25. It is an excellent example of how dedicated propane engines can provide an up to 13% reduction in CO2 emissions relative to diesel.

Renewable propane is another significant advancement. It is structurally and functionally identical to conventional propane and is produced from renewable feedstocks. The CHP panel will discuss how policymakers could make an impact in the uptake of renewable propane for power generation applications leading to a 50%-70% reduction in lifecycle CO2 emissions compared to conventional diesel.

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, tax credits for CHP projects have increased from 10% to 30% for systems that are in service by the end of 2024, making now an attractive time to invest in CHP technology.