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Considering a cogen system for a residential building?

Considering a cogen system for a residential building?

Utilising inner-city waste and sewage to generate power and heat for residential buildings might seem like a concept for the distant future but in reality, the infrastructure and systems are already available and implementable now. 

Not only do these systems provide heat and power at a reduced cost compared with traditional fuel sources, they also offer a green energy alternative to fossil fuel power generation. 

A recent University of Technology Sydney study on the feasibility of capturing and converting the building waste, eg. food scraps, sewage, fats, oils and grease, to biogas on-site at an inner-city Sydney building development found the idea to be very achievable. With power generated from the biogas potentially providing 20% of residents electricity needs and up to 50% of the hot water requirements.

Utilising the waste for energy within the building also reduces the direct costs and environmental impact involved in removing sewage and rubbish, often to distant treatment and landfill facilities.

If a biogas power generation plant is not a feasible option for your building alternatives include using natural gas or other fuels to power the cogenerator

Due to the cogeneration system utilising both the electricity and heat produced the unit can provide building power at around 80% efficiency compared with grid power’s 30%.

Utilising the heat

The heat produced by the cogenerator can be used for the building’s hot water supply or space heating, reducing reliance on conventional systems powered directly using natural gas, LPG, or electricity.

Using the green power

Cogenerators provide reliable power for multi-dwelling residential buildings removing the issues encountered during grid power outs such as elevator failure, emergency lighting systems, air conditioning loss, and security system collapse.

Major power interruptions caused by storms, cyclones, and heatwaves can be avoided. Excess demand for peak power which can result in utility providers initiating rolling power outs such as those seen in the last year in Victoria and South Australia can be a worry of the past once the cogen power plant is established. 

Using biogas cogenerator produced electricity reduces the building’s carbon footprint and methane emissions providing a positive environmental effect on the local area.

Inoplex cogenerators utilise internal combustion engines powered using a choice of fuels including biogas and natural gas.

Cogeneration power can effectively decrease the body corporate electricity cost for common area lighting, air conditioning and exhaust systems, pool filtration and chlorination, emergency and security systems. Depending on the metering system in the building cogeneration can be used for both common areas and residents, or common areas only. 

The CHP system can be set up to run continually providing supplementary electricity to the building every day or in ‘island mode’ to kick in during mains grid power outages.

Cogeneration power plant positioning

Cogeneration units are often housed in the basement’s or on the rooftop of a multi-storey building which ensures the system causes minimal disruption to residents. 

CHP systems can be installed during the construction of the building or retrofit into existing electrical power and hot water infrastructure. 

Is cogeneration right for your building?

Opting for a cogeneration system in a building can pose a lot of questions and considerations for Body Corporate or strata management committees. The team at Inoplex offer guidance and expert advice at every stage of the project, carrying out feasibility reviews, presenting practical, energy efficient design options, as well as overseeing construction, commissioning, and testing.