Cables and piping inside of a modern industrial power plant
In Chile, more than 65% of electricity comes from thermal power plants fed by fossil fuels.
Implementing CHP in Chile

Thermal power in Chile has the potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions

CHP generation in Chile could make more efficient use of thermal fuels, but remains underutilised. GIZ and NIRAS-IP aim to do something about it.

22. Jun 2018

In Chile, more than 65% of electricity comes from thermal power plants fed by fossil fuels. This creates huge amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, while electricity demand is growing by 5% per year. At the same time, industrial, commercial, and public buildings generate heat with gas-, diesel-, or electric boilers.

These two patterns create a multi-million-dollar missed opportunity. To see it, one must grasp how thermal power works. In simple terms, thermal plants use fuel to boil billions of litres of water. The resulting steam passes through turbines that turn electricity generators. After that, the steam is cooled and condensed so the water can be reused.

Most of the heat from billions of litres of steam is simply released into the environment. With the right technologies, such as combined heat and power (CHP) plants, the heat byproduct of power generation could itself be reused, for example by heating buildings.

Until now, efficient CHP isn’t widely applied, even though studies have identified its high potential, and projects have demonstrated that the use of CHP is technically and economically feasible.

The EUR684,000 GIZ-funded programme “Emission Reduction by Use of CHP in Chilean Commerce and Industry” intends to tackle various barriers to the use of CHP, as well as gain political support for CHP, close gaps within the regulation framework, and supply expert knowledge on the design, implementation, and operation of CHP projects.

In addition to the above objectives, NIRAS IP’s experts will advise political and other stakeholders on options for CHP generation, review the technical design of planned CHP projects, and optimize operation strategies to improve their economic feasibility. Along with local engineers, we will assess options for the implementation of Combined Cooling, Heat, and Power plants to also serve local demand for air conditioning.

Finally, NIRAS IP will design and implement training to further the knowledge and adoption of CHP.

The programme is scheduled to begin in July and will run for 24 months.