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Cogeneration has been used for almost a century to supply both process heat and power in many large industrial plants in the United States. This technology would have been applied to a greater extent if we did not experience a period of plentiful low-cost fuel and reliable low-cost electric power in the 25 years following the end of World War 11. Thus economic rather than technical considerations have limited the application of this energy-saving technology.

The continued increase in the cost of energy is the primary factor contributing to the renewed interest in cogeneration and its potential benefits. This chapter discusses the various prime movers that merit consideration when evaluating this technology. Furthermore, approximate performance levels and techniques for developing effective cogeneration systems are presented.

The cost of all forms of energy is rising sharply. Cogeneration should remain an important factor in effectively using our energy supplies and economically providing goods and services in those base-load applications requiring large quantities of process heat and power.

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