A recent study by COGEN together with ODE and Bond Beter Leefmilieu has shown that cogeneration can play an important role in the energy transition and the nuclear exit. CHP plants produce electricity and useful heat, which means that they use up to 30% less fuel than the combination of electricity production by a traditional power station and heat production with a gas-fired boiler. By 2025, approximately 1000 MW of additional electric power can be installed with CHP installations.
Today, 2700 MWe of CHP capacity is set up in Belgium. This corresponds to the entire nuclear capacity of Doel and covers approximately 18% of the total Belgian electricity demand (and even 21% for Flanders). In comparison with the separate production of heat and electricity, these CHP installations also provide considerable fuel savings (more than 11 TWh or gas consumption of around 800,000 households).
With a view to the closure or at least the phasing out of the nuclear power plants in our country, it is clear that CHP technology should not be forgotten as a replacement capacity. A recent analysis by COGEN (previously: Cogen Vlaanderen), in collaboration with the Bond Beter Leefmilieu and ODE, shows that by 2025 in Belgium 1000 MWe of additional CHP capacity - the capacity of a large nuclear power plant - can be realized in factories, companies, institutions, schools or for a heating network. This would bring the total primary energy savings to more than 15 TWh, which corresponds to no less than 40% of Belgian households connected to the gas network today. Several smaller plants are also much less vulnerable and much more reliable than one large (and old) nuclear power plant and they are easier to control, so that they fit perfectly into the future energy landscape.
Because of its energy efficiency, flexibility, controllability and reliability, CHP is an ideal addition to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy and the technology can also be used to keep the electricity grid in balance. Moreover, the CHP itself can also be fed with a renewable energy source. Nowadays this is mostly biogas or biomass, but the production of synthetic gas (Power-to-Gas) is in full development. And CHP also has a lot of potential in more future-oriented solutions such as heat grids and smart grids.
Flemish Minister of Energy Bart Tommelein previously expressed his support for small decentralized installations such as CHP as part of the replacement capacity of the nuclear power plants. Also in other European countries, CHP is already the final piece in the sustainable energy puzzle, why not also in Belgium?
Vanparijs Engineers specializes in CHP installations from 100 kWe to several MWe and collaborates closely with COGEN. Do you want to know how we can help you with the start-up of your CHP project? Feel free to contact us. We guide you in all steps of the process!