Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems can be installed into building or complex and are used to generate electricity in much the same way that a conventional power-station would (ie. through the combustion of fuel).
However, the advantage of a CHP system over a conventional power-station is that they are also able to utilise the heat generated, that would otherwise be lost through cooling towers or other such mechanisms.
Combined Heat and Power systems offer considerable environmental benefits when compared with purchased electricity and onsite-generated heat. By capturing and utilizing heat that would otherwise be wasted from the production of electricity, CHP systems require less fuel than equivalent separate heat and power systems to produce the same amount of energy. Because less fuel is used, greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, as well as air pollutants like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, are reduced.
Solid-oxide Fuel Cells represent a promising variation on this theme.1