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Estimates for combined heat and power and waste heat recovery


RMI analysis predicts an increase of industrial combined heat and power (CHP) installations of 109 GW, split between traditional cogeneration and waste heat recovery to electricity.

RMI projections for 2050 CHP adoption are approximately twice the 2020 CHP capacity that McKinsey & Co. predicts, but less than the 2030 CHP adoption that the U.S. Department of Energy has proposed. We assume that 85% of retiring CHP or boiler units are replaced with state-of-the-art CHP. We also assume that the waste-heat to electricity measures are adopted steadily over time.The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) waste heat technologies included in our analysis, such as organic-Rankine bottoming cycles, have an average capital cost of $1,170/kW. At a $0.05/kWh wholesale cost of electricity, these systems would annually produce $370 worth of electricity per installed kW for a 3.2-year payback.


RMI analysis based on:

A. U.S. Department of Energy. “Annual Energy Outlook 2010 Energy Prices by Sector and Source, United States, Reference Case.” link

B. McKinsey & Company. 2009. Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the US Economy. McKinsey & Company. link

C. U.S. Department of Energy. 2009. Combined Heat and Power: A Vision for the Future. U.S. Department of Energy. link

D. Xu, Tengfang, J. Slaa, and J. Sathaye. 2010. Characterizing Costs and Savings Benefits from a Selection of Energy Efficient Emerging Technologies in the United States. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. link

E. Martin, N., E. Worrell, M. Ruth, L. Price, R. Elliott, and A. Shipley. 2000. Emerging Energy-Efficient Industrial Technologies. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. link

F. Bailey, Owen, and Ernst Worrell. 2005. Clean Energy Technologies: A Preliminary Inventory of the Potential for Electricity Generation. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, April. link