Enabling Grid Integration of Combined Heat and Power Plants

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Virginia Tech

In a world where calls for climate action grow louder by the day, the role of renewable energy and energy efficient generation sources has become extremely important. One such energy efficient resource that can increase the penetration of renewable energy into the grid is the Combined Heat and Power technology. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants produce useful thermal and electrical power output from a single input fuel source and are widely used in the industrial and commercial sectors for reliable on-site power production. However, several unfavorable policies combined with inconsistent regulations have discouraged investments in this technology and reduced participation of such facilities in grid operations. The potential benefits that could be offered by this technology are numerous - improving grid resiliency during emergencies, deferring transmission system updates and reducing toxic emissions, to name a few. With increased share of renewable energy sources in the generation mix, there is a pressing need for reliable base generation that can meet the grid requirements without contributing negatively to the environment. Since CHP units are good candidates to help achieve this two-fold requirement, it is important to understand the present barriers to their deployment and grid involvement. In this thesis work, we explore some of these challenges and propose suitable grid integration technology as well as market participation approaches for better involvement of distributed CHP units in the industrial and commercial sectors.

Flexible-CHP, Demand Response, Weighted Multi-Objective Optimization