Trigeneration Technologies
A Cogeneration Technologies Company
info @ trigeneration dot com      Tel.  (832) 758 - 0027

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The Renewable Energy Institute


What is Trigeneration?

Trigeneration produces three energies (cooling, heating and power) for the price of one, is about 90% efficient, 300% more efficient than electricity generated from central power plants and Kyoto Protocol compliant. This makes trigeneration the cleanest, most environmentally friendly, and least cost method to generate electricity using any fossil fuel (i.e. natural gas) or renewable fuel such as biomethane, biodiesel or ethanol.  Compared with electricity generated from electric utilities central power plants, trigeneration power plants have significantly fewer emissions, provide dramatically lower power/energy expenses, and may provide a return on investment in less than 36 months for our commercial, industrial, municipal and utility customers. 

We are the trigeneration experts! Trigeneration is the cleanest, most efficient, environmentally friendly, and least-expensive method to produce our client's electricity, hot water, steam, and chilled water for air-conditioning and process applications. Trigeneration at 86% to 93% (when using natural gas or biomethane) system efficiency - significantly reduces our client's energy expenses, conserves natural resources, reduces the need for foreign oil imports, and also provides significant environmental benefits, including reductions of up to 90% of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide emissions, nitrogen oxides and other hazardous air pollutants. Trigeneration is also Kyoto Protocol compliant, having far fewer emissions than any other electricity generating technology, with the exceptions of hydro, hydrogen, solar, wind and geothermal.  Compared with electricity generated from a central power plant, trigeneration is about 300% more efficient. 


Our power and energy project development services include: 

  • Project Engineering Feasibility & Economic Analysis Studies  

  • Engineering, Procurement and Construction

  • Environmental Engineering & Permitting 

  • Project Funding & Financing Options; including Equity Investment, Debt Financing, Lease and Municipal Lease

  • Shared/Guaranteed Savings Program with No Capital Investment from Qualified Clients 

  • Project Commissioning 

  • 3rd Party Ownership and Project Development

  • Long-term Service Agreements

  • Operations & Maintenance 

  • Green Tag (Renewable Energy Credit, Carbon Dioxide Credits, Emission Reduction Credits) Brokerage Services; Application and Permitting

We are specialists in "Renewable Energy Technologies" and in developing clean power/energy projects that will generate a "Renewable Energy Credit," and/or Carbon Dioxide Credits and/or Emission Reduction Credits.  Through our strategic partners, we offer "turnkey" power/energy project development products and services that may include; Absorption Chillers, Adsorption Chillers, Automated Demand Response, Biodiesel Refineries, Biofuel Refineries, Biomass Gasification, BioMethane, Canola Biodiesel, Coconut Biodiesel, Cogeneration, Concentrating Solar Power, Demand Response Programs, Demand Side Management, Energy Conservation Measures, Energy Master Planning, Engine Driven Chillers, Solar CHP, Solar Cogeneration, Rapeseed Biodiesel, Solar Electric Heat Pumps, Solar Electric Power Systems, Solar Heating and Cooling, Solar Trigeneration, Soy Biodiesel, and Trigeneration.

Trigeneration Advantages For
Commercial & Industrial Clients

Helping Commercial, Industrial and Utility Clients Become 
More Efficient, Profitable & Environmentally-Responsible

By Monty Goodell, MBA
President and CEO
Trigeneration Technologies
Wholly-owned subsidiary of EcoGeneration Solutions, LLC

"Trigeneration" is the simultaneous production of cooling, heating and power, in one process.  Trigeneration, when compared to (combined-cycle) cogeneration, may be up to 50% more efficient than cogeneration. When found in a hospital, university, office-campus, military base, downtown or group of office buildings, has also been referred to as a "district energy system" or "integrated energy system" and as previously mentioned, can be dramatically more efficient and environmentally friendly than "cogeneration." 

A trigeneration plant, defined in non-engineering terminology, is most often described as a cogeneration plant that has added absorption chillers - which takes the "waste heat" a cogeneration plant would have "wasted," and converts this "free energy" that would have been wasted by cogeneration, into useful energy in the form of chilled water.  

The trigeneration energy process produces four different forms of energy from the primary energy source, namely, hot water, steam, cooling (chilled water) and power generation (electrical energy). 
Trigeneration has also been referred to as CHCP (combined heating, cooling and power generation), this option allows having greater operational flexibility at sites with demand for energy in the form of heating as well as cooling. This is particularly relevant in tropical countries where buildings need to be air-conditioned and many industries require process cooling. 

Example of a Gas Turbine Based Trigeneration Facility

Although cooling can be provided by conventional vapor compression chillers driven by electricity, low quality heat (i.e. low temperature, low pressure) exhausted from the cogeneration plant can drive the absorption chillers so that the overall primary energy consumption is reduced. Absorption chillers have recently gained widespread acceptance due to their capability of not only integrating with cogeneration systems but also because they can operate with industrial waste heat streams. The benefit of power generation and absorption cooling can be realized through the following example that compares it with a power generation system with conventional vapor compression system.

Trigeneration Example by the numbers 

A factory requires 1 MW of electricity and 500 refrigeration tons* (RT). The gas turbine generates electricity required for the on-site energy processes as well as the conventional vapor compression chiller. 

Assuming an electricity demand of 0.65 kW/RT, the compression chiller needs 325 kW of electricity to obtain 500 RT of cooling. Therefore, a total of 1325 kW of electricity must be provided to this factory. If the gas turbine efficiency has an efficiency of 30 per cent, primary energy consumption would be 4417 kW. 

However, a cogeneration system with an absorption chiller (thereby making this a "trigeneration" plant) can provide the same energy service (power and cooling) by consuming only 3,333 kW of primary energy versus 4417 kW thereby saving nearly 25% in primary energy usage. This is why a trigeneration plant is even more efficient than a cogeneration plant.

This example clearly points out the advantages of trigeneration over cogeneration. A trigeneration plant (with an absorption chiller) can save about 24.5 per cent of primary energy in comparison with a cogeneration plant and vapor compression chiller. 

Additionally, a smaller prime mover leads to not only lower capital cost but also less standby charge during the system breakdown because steam needed for the chiller can still be generated by auxiliary firing of the waste heat boiler.

Since many industries and commercial buildings need combined power and heating and cooling, trigeneration plants have very high potentials for industrial and commercial application - with the associated energy and economic savings inherent with trigeneration.

* Note : A refrigeration ton (RT) is defined as the transfer of heat at the rate of 3.52 kW, which is roughly the rate of cooling obtained by melting ice at the rate of one ton per day.

This example and information courtesy of ASHRAE

By ever-increasing numbers, more and more commercial, industrial and utility companies  and businesses are seeking ways to use energy more efficiently. This is a direct result of dramatically increasing electric and natural gas rates, decreased power reliability (black-outs, brown-outs, rolling black-outs and other power interruptions) as well as competitive and economic pressures to cut expenses, increase air quality, and reduce emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gasses.  The Kyoto Protocol, while not ratified in the United States, continues to be another major driver in much of the rest of the world.  In the United States, "trigeneration"  is becoming a preferred method to produce a company's, building or facility’s power and energy requirements.  Trigeneration is also providing a strategic competitive advantage for those companies who install an onsite trigeneration system. Another reason more companies are considering trigeneration is the ever-increasing expense of natural gas – which behooves commercial, industrial and even utility customers – to extract as many of the available BTU’s as possible. 

Trigeneration is an energy and power production technology that takes cogeneration one additional step. Cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), is the simultaneous production of electricity and useful heat, usually in the form of either hot water or steam, from one primary fuel, such as natural gas. While not necessarily defined correctly, cogeneration has also been referred to as district energy, total energy, combined cycle and simply cogen. Cogeneration has been mostly a technology used in the utilities and industrial marketplace.

Trigeneration, as the name implies, refers to the simultaneous production of three useful energies, and is defined as the simultaneous production of heat and power, just like cogeneration, except trigeneration takes cogeneration one step further by also producing chilled water for air conditioning or process use with the addition of absorption chillers that take the waste heat from a cogeneration plants to make chilled water for cooling a building. 

Trigeneration has also recently been referred to;

*  Integrated energy systems (IES) 

*  Buildings, Cooling, Heating and Power

*  Combined Cooling, Heating and Power 

*  Cooling, Heating and Power for Buildings

*  CHP systems for buildings

permits even greater operational flexibility at businesses with demand for energy in the form of heating as well as cooling. Just as a cogeneration power plant captures and makes use of the waste heat, absorption or adsorption chillers capture the waste (or rejected) heat and produce chilled water.

Trigeneration energy and power systems are found in commercial applications typically where there is a need for air conditioning or chilled water by the customer.

When a trigeneration energy and power system is installed “onsite,” that is, where the electrical and thermal energy is needed by the customer, so that the electrical energy does not have to be transported hundreds of miles away, and the thermal energy is utilized, system efficiencies can reach and surpass 90%.  

Onsite trigeneration plants are much more efficient, economically-sound and environmentally-friendly than typical (central) power plants.  Because of this, customers have energy expenses that are significantly lower, and the associated pollution is also much less than if the customer had an energy system supplied with electricity from the grid, and had water heaters and boilers systems “onsite.”  Trigeneration’s superior efficiencies surpass even the latest “state-of-the-art” combined cycle cogeneration power plants by up to 50%. Coupled with a 4-pipe system, these businesses can produce hot water/steam and chilled water simultaneously, for circulation throughout the building or campus – which would be referred to as a district energy system.

And size is not an impediment, since trigeneration systems can be installed, for example, in small commercial settings, such as restaurants, hotels, schools, office buildings and shopping centers to large petro-chemical plants, refineries and in a city’s downtown area, providing the energy requirements for multiple buildings… and still remaining at system efficiencies of 90%.

“EcoGeneration” defines the optimization of economic and ecological benefits in the power generation process.  EcoGeneration produces huge savings for our environment through the reduction, or even elimination of of pollution associated with power and energy production and generation.  Additionally, ecogeneration appeals to our clients’ economic bottom-line by providing them with significant fuel and electrical savings.

Energy technologies that fall under ecogeneration include; wind, solar, geothermal, hydrogen fuel, hydrogen fuel cells, soybean diesel fuels, ocean/tidal power, waste to energy/waste to fuel and waste to watts, combined cycle, district energy, cogeneration, trigeneration and even quadgeneration power plants.

There are two major ecogeneration initiatives and technologies we will discuss in greater length in this article; cogeneration and and a newer technology, “trigeneration.” Trigeneration, is one of the most attractive options which is even more efficient and economically rewarding than its cousin, cogeneration. 

History of 120 Year-Old Cogeneration Technology Leads the Way to a Brighter Future for Trigeneration and Even Quadgeneration Technologies

Many people know that Thomas Edison built the first commercial power plant.  However, most people do not know that Edison ’s first commercial power plant known as the “Pearl Street Station” – built in 1882, in Lower Manhattan , New York , was also a cogeneration power plant!

Because cogeneration and trigeneration continues to be the most efficient method of generating electrical and thermal energy, in terms of energy output, the Department of Energy has called for the doubling of electrical power generated from cogeneration power plants – from the existing 46 GW (one gigawatt = 1,000 MW) to 92 GW by the year 2010. When this goal is reached, cogeneration will represent about 14% of the total U.S. generating capacity of electricity. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)  estimates that an additional 95 GW of cogeneration capacity could be added between 2010-2020, resulting in 29% of total U.S. electric power generation being generated through cogeneration.  Europe is also dramatically increasing the number of cogeneration power plants over the next decade.

And the historical basis and success of cogeneration, has been the foundational basis for expanding the efficiencies of cogeneration to trigeneration and even quadgeneration – with each new increase in energies recovered resulting in higher efficiencies and lower fuel/energy costs and fewer related emissions.

President George W. Bush’s National Energy Plan

In the United States , President George W. Bush’s National Energy Plan recognizes the important role that is found in cogeneration technologies - and it plays an important role in meeting national energy objectives and maintaining comfort and safety in commercial markets and office buildings.  Released in May 2001, President Bush’s National Energy Plan states in section 3-5 of the National Energy Plan, states;

A family of technologies known as combined heat and power (CHP) can achieve efficiencies of 80% or more.  In addition to environmental benefits, cogeneration projects offer efficiency and cost savings in a variety of settings, including industrial boilers, energy systems, and small, building scale applications.  At industrial facilities alone, there is potential for an additional 124,000 MW of efficient power from gas-fired cogeneration, which could result in annual emissions reductions of 614,000 tons of Nox emissions and 44 million tos of carbon equivalent.  Cogeneration is also one of a group of clean, highly reliable, distributed energy technologies that reduce the amount of electricity lost in transmission while eliminating the need to construct expensive power lines to transmit power from large central power plants.”

President Bush’s National Energy Plan includes:

-                      Promotion of cogeneration through flexible environmental permitting.

-                      Issuing of guidelines to encourage development of highly efficient and
     low-emissions cogeneration

-                      Greater promotion of cogeneration at abandoned brownfield industrial and
      commercial sites.   

Pollution Associated with Inefficient Power Plants

Currently, power plants in the U.S. have been cited for producing two-thirds of its’ annual sulfur dioxide emissions, one-quarter of the nitrogen oxide emissions, one-third of mercury emissions, and one-third of carbon dioxide emissions.  These resulting pollutants produce serious environmental and health consequences, including:

-                      Increased sick days in areas with high urban smog levels.

-                      Ling problems in the young and old, including increased rates of asthma
     and chronic bronchitis.

-                      Global climate change.

-                      Urban haze and smog.

-                      Acid rain.

-                      Acidification of lakes, streams, rivers and oceans.

-                      Dead, and dying lakes, stream, rivers and wildlife in and near these areas.

“Curing” the problems associated with inefficient electrical power generation begins with pollution prevention. The choices are clear, we must stop wasting energy and start increasing the efficiency of power generation facilities.  Instead of building inefficient, wasteful, pollution-generating “central” power plants owned by utility companies, where the thermal energy is “wasted,” we need to start building efficient, onsite power plants where the heat energy can be utilized. These onsite cogeneration, trigeneration and quadgeneration power and energy systems are also referred to as “distributed generation” or “distributed energy” technologies. They can be installed easily, affordably and they operate economically throughout their life-cycle.

EPA understands that resolving these problems must start with pollution prevention, which equates to using fewer energy resources to produce goods and services. The National Energy Plan includes four specific recommendations to promote CHP, three of which were directed to EPA for action:

·       promotion of CHP through flexible environmental permitting.

·       issuing of guidance to encourage development of highly efficient and low- emitting CHP through shortened lead times and greater certaint.y

·       promotion of the use of CHP at abandoned brownfield industrial or commercial sites.

As a follow-up to those recommendations, EPA joined with 18 Fortune 500 companies, city and state governments, and non-profit organizations in February 2002 in Washington , DC , to announce the EPA Combined Heat and Power Partnership (CHPP). The CHPP aims to advance CHP as a more efficient, clean and reliable alternative to conventional electricity generation. The Partnership now boasts nearly 50 partners, including state and local regulators, end users, project developers, and equipment suppliers.

Clean, Onsite Power and Energy Systems for 
Industrial and Commercial Customers

“Distributed generation” locates smaller and more efficient power plants where the power and thermal energy is actually needed.  These onsite power systems are also called “inside the fence” power systems and are designed and engineered to maximize the customer’s power and energy requirements. 

Companies such as EcoGeneration Solutions, LLC (EGS) provide its’ customers turnkey, optimized energy solutions – starting with a comprehensive engineering nd feasibility study.  This helps determine the optimum-sized  power system based on their energy requirements, location, energy consumption patterns, and local electric rates. 

For some clients, EGS offers an energy solution wherein EGS will make the investment, with litle to no investment from the client.  These customers are first qualified and then EGS will design, build, own and operate the trigeneration system for their clients. According to Monty Goodell, EGS’ President & CEO, “we become the clean-green onsite utility company for our clients."  Adding, "as a company that is focused solely on the optimum power and energy solution, we must be equipment and vendor-neutral. We are seeking the optimum power and energy system solution for our customers if we are the developer, as well as our company if we build/own/operate and maintain the trigeneration system."  EGS' turnkey trigeneration system development includes; preliminary engineering review, engineering study, permitting, project financing or investment, construction, operations and maintenance.  For most clients, EGS saves them an immediate 10% off of their existing energy expenses if EGS owns and operates the new trigeneration power and energy system.

"When our client does not have the capital or budget to make the investment in an onsite co/tri/quadgeneration system, and if they qualify, we come and determine an optimized solution, and when our client and EGS agree on the terms, we offer our Power Purchase Agreement, and it’s a truly “win-win” situation for some of our clients. Mr Goodell continues, “of course, this situation is one of the options available for our clients, and fits our business model, but not all of our client’s opt for this option.  Most of our client’s are quite sophisticated in terms of being able to run these onsite power systems.  Many are choosing to maximize on their savings by purchasing and operating the systems we offer them.”

The Energy Information (EIA) Administration of the Department of Energy recently sponsored a study to estimate the potential for new trigeneration power and energy systems in the U.S. According to their study, there are 1,431,805 buildings in the United States that are suitable for onsite cogeneration power systems (most of these are actually better suited for “trigeneration”) requiring a capacity of 77,281 MW. At an average of $2 million per MW, this translates into a $154 Billion market opportunity in the U.S. alone.  

“Even ‘quadgeneration’ is a possibility,” according to Mr. Goodell, “taking even trigeneration one further step, quadgeneration produces 4 energies from one process.  By extracting most of the available heat from the power/energy generation process, end-users obtain the most efficient, optimized energy system.” But the efficiency gains are wasted if the recovered waste heat is not put to work or the existing boilers or water heaters  displaced, reduced or eliminate entirely. This is why it is absolutely critical that a thorough and complete feasibility is critical in the determination of a properly sized onsite energy system, and that outdated systems are either eliminated,  compensated for or integrated into the new energy system. It should go without saying, but if the facility that installs a trigeneration or quadgeneration system does not replace or reduce other systems, there can be a net loss of efficiency.  If the facility does not offset the net efficiency gains of the new trigeneration system by reducing, displacing or eliminating the existing water heaters/boilers load, then the facility will not have an “optimized” installation and therefore will not profit to the extent they could have had the feasibility and design studies been properly conducted.      

Trigeneration and even QuadGeneration Takes the Lead 
Over Cogeneration Due to Superior
Efficiencies and Increased Energy Expenses

More onsite energy/power systems in Europe are going with “trigeneration” rather than cogeneration.  A trigeneration system consists of a cogeneration plant, and either absorption or adsorption chillers that produce chilled water by making use of some of the waste heat recovered from the cogeneration power plant. 

Schematic Presentation of a Gas Turbine Based QUADGENERATION Facility
Providing Four Energies (output) from One Fuel Input

While cooling can be provided by electric-driven compression chillers, low quality heat (i.e. low temperature, low pressure) that is not used by the cogeneration power plant, can be used to drive the absorption or adsorption chillers so that the overall primary energy consumption is reduced.

Trigeneration power plants with absorption and/or adsorption chillers have gained widespread acceptance due to their capability of not only integrating with cogeneration systems but also because they can operate with industrial waste heat streams that can be fairly substantial. The benefit of power generation and absorption or adsorption cooling can be realized through the following example that compares it with a power generation system with conventional electric-driven compression systems.

Trigeneration’s Superior Efficiency Over Cogeneration by the Numbers
(Example courtesy of ASHRAE)

Assume in this example a factory needs 1 MW of electricity and 500 refrigeration tons (RT) (Definition:  A refrigeration ton (RT) is defined as the transfer of heat at the rate of 3.52 kW, which is roughly the rate of cooling obtained by melting ice at the rate of one ton per day). 

Let us first consider the gas turbine that generates electricity required for the processes as well as the conventional electric-driven compression chiller. With an electricity demand of 0.65 kW/RT, the compression chiller needs 325 kW of electricity to obtain 500 RT of cooling.  Therefore, a total of 1325 kW of electricity must be provided to this factory. If the gas turbine efficiency has an efficiency of 30 per cent, primary energy consumption would be 4417 kW. 

 Schematic diagram of power generation and cooling with electricity

However, a trigeneration system (with absorption or adsorption chillers – by definition) can provide the same energy service (power and cooling) by consuming only 3,333 kW of primary energy. See below:

Schematic diagram of power generation and absorption cooling

In this example, the trigeneration power plant saves about 24.54% of the “primary energy” in this case as opposed to the cogeneration power plant with electric-driven compression chillers.  Since many industries and commercial buildings in tropical countries need combined power and heating/cooling, the cogeneration systems with absorption cooling have very high potentials for industrial and commercial application.

In addition to producing power/electricity and hot water/steam, trigeneration also produces chilled water for air conditioning or other industrial processes.

When compared to "combined-cycle" cogeneration, trigeneration can be up to 50% more efficient than cogeneration, further reducing operating costs, fuel expenses and environmental pollutants.

Trigeneration systems for commercial buildings are very profitable investments for the building owners.  A new trigeneration system might pay for itself in as little as 2 years, depending on local electric rates, natural gas (or other fuel) costs, and the load profile of the building.  Trigeneration systems help not only the building owners, but also benefit society in many ways, including:

·         increased power reliability

·         reduced power requirements on the electric grid

·         improved environmental quality

·         reduced energy consumption

·         reduced dependence on foreign oil

The onsite trigeneration system can be economically attractive for many types of buildings and businesses, including, but not limited to the following:

Hospitals                                  Colleges & universities

Schools                                    Office buildings

Shopping centers                      Government facilities

Data Centers                            Server farms

Nursing homes                         Hotels 

Supermarkets                           Refrigerated Warehouses

Retail stores                              Restaurants

Theatres                                   Ice skating

Airports                                    Resorts

Golf/country clubs                     Manufacturing

Casinos                                    Resorts

Facilities with trigeneration systems use them to produce their own electricity, and use the unused excess (waste) heat for process steam, water heating, space heating, air-conditioning, and other thermal needs.

Trigeneration and quadgeneration systems are so energy efficient and profitable that ROI’s of 8 months to 36 months are achievable. Mr. Goodell adds, “because every situation is unique, a feasibility study is an absolute requirement before just ordering any trigeneration system, as there are so many different manufacturers, not to mention the externalities, and internalities that need to be examined and reviewed to find an optimized energy solution.”  

The following is from the Buildings, Cooling, Heating and Power website; Energy is the most significant driving force of our economy. All buildings need electric power for lighting and operating equipment and appliances. One of the major consumers of energy in buildings is the equipment for space conditioning. Most commercial and institutional buildings for businesses, education, and healthcare require space conditioning for cooling, heating, and/or humidity control.”

Since the 1930’s approximately two-thirds of all the fuel used to make electricity in the U.S. is generally wasted by central power plants in the form of unused thermal energy, in the electrical generation process – either into the air or discharging into water. While there have been impressive energy efficiency gains in other sectors of the economy since the oil price shocks of the 1970's, the average efficiency of power generation within the U.S. has remained around 27% - 35% for nearly 70 years.  Today’s combined-cycle power plants – which is a form of cogeneration, are only about 60% efficient.

From the Buildings, Cooling, Heating & Power website at; “Integrated systems for cooling, heating and power (CHP) systems significantly increase efficiency of energy utilization, up to 85%, by using thermal energy from power generation equipment for cooling, heating and humidity control systems. These systems are located at or near the building using power and space conditioning, and can save about 40% of the input energy required by conventional systems. In other words, conventional systems require 65% more energy than the integrated systems, as shown in the above diagram.

Commercial buildings, college campuses, hospital complexes, and government facilities are good candidates for benefiting from integrated systems for CHP for buildings.”

Improved Power Reliability

Economic losses due to power outages in the U.S. have cost American businesses billions of dollars. The following table shows the economic impact of power outages on some industries.


Average Cost of Power Outage $/hr

Brokage Operations


Credit Card Operations


Airline Reservations


Telephone Ticket Sales


Cellular Communications


Power outages and rolling blackouts are occurring more frequently.  And they are no longer isolated to California .  ERCOT, in Texas, recently shut-down 17 power plants, some less than 2 years old, leading many to believe  that Texas may be following California with black-outs where Texas, to date, has never had a power shortage.  Many other states have power shortages and power availability problems. Like any commodity, these problems normally occur when demand for power exceeds its supply, for example, on hot days when demand for power, for air-conditioning, increases.  Also occuring during extremely cold days when demand for power for providing heating increases.  There are many areas where grid congestion and limits to handle the required demand for electricity, or the grid’s inability to supply the demand for electricity in specific areas, creates additional problems.  Weather-related storms knock out power when trees fall on power lines, transformers blow, substation transformers fail. Trigeneration systems for buildings eliminate these problems because power generation equipment is at or near the building sites and helps reduce load on the power grid and local area lines and thus, helps improve power reliability.

Improved Efficiencies Equals Improved Environmental Quality and
Reduced Energy Consumption

Trigeneration has also recently been linked to “sustainable energy” as it improves the efficiency of energy utilization to as much as 90% and more, compared to that of about 25% to 35% for central power plants, to as much as 55% for combined-cycle power plants, which is also another form of cogeneration, depending on the specific system.  But when primary fuel (natural gas) expenses reach the $5 - $6.00/mmbtu range, even the most efficient combined cycle power plants cannot compete with coal.  This is another reason why onsite trigeneration systems high system efficiencies are a profitable solution for business and industry, as 2-3 year ROI’s are still possible with trigeneration, even when natural gas costs are in excess of $6/mmbtu. 

Because the overall increased system efficiency of energy utilization, with trigeneration, decreases the amount of fossil fuel consumed per unit of energy used – this leads to significant reductions in air emissions by 40% to 70% and more, depending on the systems, compared to conventional centralized power plants.

Also of increasing interest, is the relationship of indoor air quality to our health. In order to prevent the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria, it is important to keep humidity in the indoor air to below 60%. Trigeneration used in buildings improves indoor air quality by supporting the use of a desiccant dehumidification system to dry the air. Desiccant systems use a material that directly removes the moisture from the air then use heat, such as that provided by the exhaust gases of the power generation equipment in the CHP system, to regenerate the desiccant. This provides a very energy efficient and cost effective method of dehumidifying indoor air, rather that using an air conditioner to "over cool" the air to remove humidity.

Reduced Energy Consumption

As discussed above, trigeneration systems for buildings increases the overall efficiency of energy utilization to 90% and more. Therefore, the use of these systems reduces the consumption of fossil fuels, for a unit of energy required for a building, by about 40% of that used by conventional systems. In other words, conventional systems require 65% more energy than the integrated systems.  This is important for prolonging the period of availability of our scarce fossil fuel resources (natural gas, oil and coal) and reducing our dependence on imported fuel and on nuclear energy.”

Past History and Success of Cogeneration Leading to 
Even Brighter Future and New Technologies Such as 
Trigeneration and even Quadgeneration

Because cogeneration has proved to be very efficient in terms of energy output, the Department of Energy is calling for the doubling of electrical power generated from cogeneration power plants from the existing 46 gigawatts* (GW - * A unit of power equal to 1 billion Watts; 1 million kilowatts, or 1,000 megawatts ) or about 8% of our nation’s existing electrical production, to 92 GW by the year 2010.  When this goal is achieved, cogeneration will represent about 14% of US electric generating capacity. The American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) estimates that an additional 95 GW of cogeneration capacity could be added between 2010 and 2020, resulting in 29% of total capacity.  Europe is also dramatically increasing the number of cogeneration power plants there and has also called for a doubling in power generated through cogeneration over the next 10 years.

Currently, power plants are responsible for two-thirds of the nation's annual sulfur dioxide emissions, one-quarter of nitrogen oxide emissions, one-third of mercury emissions, and one-third of carbon dioxide emissions. These emissions contribute to serious environmental problems, including global climate change, acid rain, haze, acidification of waterways, and eutrophication of estuaries. These same emissions contribute to numerous health problems, such as chronic bronchitis and aggravation of asthma, particularly in children.

Advantages of Onsite Trigeneration Energy & Power Systems for 
Commercial and Institutional
Buildings and Properties  

·         Cogeneration and trigeneration are universally accepted as the most energy-efficient means of producing electricity.   

·         Cogeneration now produces almost 10% of our nation's electricity and 10% of electricity produced globally.

·         Cogeneration saves its customers up to 50% on their energy expenses. Trigeneration savings are even greater.   

·         Provides even greater savings to our environment through significantly reduced emissions associated with power plants.

·         Backed by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

·         The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is promoting the use of more electricity to be produced through cogeneration power plants.  The E.P.A. recently formed the “CHP/Cogeneration Partnership” to foster more cogeneration power plants to meet our nation’s electricity demand.

·         Cogeneration is proven technology that has been around over 100 years and not the latest industry buzz-word being touted as the solution to our nation's energy problems. The world’s first power plant designed and built by Thomas Edison in 1882 was a cogeneration plant located on Pearl Street on Lower Manhattan , New York .   

·         Two-thirds of the fuel used to make electricity today in the United States is wasted. While there have been impressive energy efficiency gains in other sectors of the economy since the oil price shocks of the 1970s, the average efficiency of power generation in the United States has stagnated at around 33 percent since 1960.     

·         The thermal losses in power plants total approximately 23 quadrillion BTUs of energy, representing one-quarter of total energy consumption in the United States, enough energy to fuel the nation's entire transportation fleet, Japan's entire economy, or the annual energy production of Saudi Arabia. This energy waste means higher than needed emissions of pollutants like sulfur dioxides, oxides of nitrogen, particulates, volatile organic compounds, and greenhouse gases  

·         A new trigeneration power plant may pay for itself in as little as 2-3 years.   

·         It is important to note that increasing the use of cogeneration and trigeneration systems is - and has been, for over one hundred years one of the best technologies available for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants found in the typical power plant as well as a means for conserving fuel and reducing our reliance on foreign oil and energy supplies. 

·         The Kyoto Protocol, while not being ratified here in the United States , is moving ahead with ratification throughout the rest of the world.  Countries throughout much of Europe and Asia view cogeneration and trigeneration as the single best energy technology to meet the stringent emissions requirements of the Kyoto Protocol.   

·         Primary fuels commonly used in trigeneration include natural gas, oil, diesel fuel, propane, coal, wood, wood-waste and bio-mass. These "primary" fuels are used to make electricity that is a "secondary" energy. This is why electricity, when compared on a btu to btu basis, is typically 3-4 times more expensive than primary fuels such natural gas.   

A typical trigeneration power plant consists of an engine, steam turbine, or combustion turbine that drives an electrical generator. A waste heat exchanger recovers waste heat from the engine and/or exhaust gas to produce hot water or steam. In trigeneration power plants, an absorption or adsorption chiller is added to a cogeneration system to convert the waste heat from a cogeneration system to make chilled water for air conditioning.

Cogeneration produces a given amount of electric power and process heat with 20% to 30% less fuel than it takes to produce the electricity and process heat separately.  Trigeneration produces chilled water, in addition to electric power and process heat with approximately 50% less fuel than it takes to produce electricity, process heat and chilled water separately. And when primary fuels such as natural gas increase     

About Us

Cogeneration Technologies and Trigeneration Technologies are subsidiaries of EcoGeneration Solutions, LLC (EGS), a privately-held company which was formed in 2002 to assist our customers increase their power reliability and reduce energy and power expenses. 

Cogeneration Technologies serves the utility and industrial markets while Trigeneration Technologies serves the commercial marketplace.  We develop and implement optimized energy solutions that improve the global environment by producing clean energy from fuels such as natural gas (including liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas), agricultural, municipal and forestry waste and other renewable resources such as energy crops. EGS’ power plants can also accept a wide range of biomass feedstock, all of which can be converted into a clean burning, medium-Btu gas that can be used as a direct substitute for natural gas. 

As project developers, we provide turn-key installation of onsite co/tri/quadgeneration systems which includes design, engineering and development of power projects up to 100 MW.  We were recently selected to design, build, own and operate a 15 MW trigeneration power plant for the new Charis Convention Center and Resort. This power plant will incorporate thermal energy storage as well as solar power for one of the cleanest power plants to ever be designed in Southern California . 

Our advanced trigeneration process, coupled with a conventional reciprocating engine or gas turbine, can convert fuel into electric power at over twice the efficiency of conventional systems. Our highly efficient power plants produce up to 4 different types of energy using our advanced trigeneration technology i.e. electricity, steam, hot water, and chilled water for air conditioning from one “on-site” power plant in one process using one fuel. 

Monty Goodell is the Founder and Chairman of Ecogeneration Solutions, LLC, the parent company of Cogeneration Technologies and Trigeneration Technologies. Mr. Goodell has a B.A. in Economics from Texas State University and an M.B.A. from Baylor University .  With several sales and marketing awards from his background in in the natural gas utility industry, including 1st Place Company Sales Award in the annual Who’s Who Sales Competition at Entex (now a Reliant Energy Company), he started marketing cogeneration and trigeneration energy and power systems in the mid 1980’s.

For more information, visit Cogeneration Technologies website at:  

Or Trigeneration Technologies website at:

E-mail at:


Cogeneration Technologies
Trigeneration Technologies
12615 Jones Rd. #209
Houston , Texas 77070

Tel.  281-955-7343

Additional Trigeneration Success Stories from the website

The McCormick Place Exhibition and Convention Center – Chicago , Illinois

The Challenge

In 1992, The Chicago Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), overseeing the McCormick Place Exhibition and Convention Center, was planning a 2.2 million square foot expansion to the 2.8 million square foot complex. Faced with a $27 million capital investment in new heating and cooling facilities, the MPEA decided to outsource the operations of the existing energy plant, and their future energy needs for the growing facility.

Project Description

The project developer’s approach integrated the operation of the existing heating and cooling equipment with a Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system and three Trigeneration (combined heating, cooling and power) systems. The TES system, the largest chilled water storage tank in North America , (8.5 million gallons) stores cold water at produced at night and discharges it to meet daylight peak cooling loads. The three Trigeneration systems combine a gas turbine, a motor/generator, a heat recovery steam generator and an ammonia screw compressor chiller.


The cost savings to the MPEA came in two forms. Operational savings of $1 million per year are projected over the life of the project. By allowing the developer to take ownership of the facility, the MPEA also avoided a $27 million up front capital outlay.

The efficiency improvements of the integrated facility resulted in substantial environmental benefits from the McCormick Place project. By using the same fuel twice to produce electricity and other energy products and maximizing the use of all the possible energy from the fuel, the facility is able to achieve fuel conversion efficiencies of 91%. As such emissions of CO2 are reduced annually by 24,327 tons and NOx by 59 tons (twice the expected annual emissions from the facility) when compared to the production of these same products separately, by conventional means.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT Cogeneration Project

The MIT Cogeneration Project represents a ten year, forty million dollar initiative by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to generate its own electrical and thermal power. The new plant is projected to save the Institute millions of dollars over the life of the plant through the technology of cogeneration. Through cogeneration, electrical and thermal power is generated simultaneously by utilizing the waste heat from a gas turbine to generate steam. This technology is approximately 18% more efficient than the technology that it replaces. MIT feels strongly that environmental preservation is more important than ever so they have utilized the latest technology available for reducing emissions into the air of Cambridge . The new technology used in the plant reduces emissions by 45% compared to the old system.  

of Maryland - College Park , Maryland

The Chesapeake Office Building, at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), utilizes two combined heat and power systems. The first system is comprised of two reciprocating engine driven air conditioners, a desiccant system, and an existing rooftop unit. The gas-fired engines provide steam to the desiccant dehumidifier, which then supplies dry air to the rooftop unit. 

Yearly savings for this system are approximately $10,000 with a 55% reduction in CO2

The second system includes a Honeywell Parallon 75 microturbine and absorption chiller for electric power and cooling requirements. Broad Air Conditioning in Changsha, China, is donating a 25 ton Lithium Bromide/Water chiller for the facility. The microturbine and the chiller will be shipped to UMCP in the spring and be operating in time for the cooling season. 

The Parallon 75 will produce electricity; recoverable heat from the unit will run the absorption chiller, avoiding the need for grid-connected electricity. The combination will be self sufficient, running on natural gas. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Broad Air Conditioning has been established which will allow the U.S. access to data generated during testing and operation of the system. Broad will also have access to data generated at the University of Maryland . The microturbine provides 75kW of electric power for the 51,000 ft2 building. Annual savings for the system are forecasted to be $25,000 with a 40% reduction in CO2.

Busch Cogeneration Project - Rutgers University , New Jersey

The Busch cogeneration project was designed as an addition to the existing central heating plant. The old plant consists of one 50 million Btu per hour and two 100 million

Btu per hour high temperature water heaters, which, like the new turbines, are also fueled by either natural gas or diesel fuel. This older portion of the total plant also contains two 250 Kilowatt diesel generators which can provide emergency power to the heating plant, as well as to the pressurizers, water softeners and makeup water de-aerators required by the high temperature hot water system. The new cogeneration plant water heaters will each recover up to 25 million Btu's per hour from the turbine exhaust, with an additional 25 million Btu's per hour available from the duct burners. This translates to a total heat output from the three turbine trains of 150 million Btu's per hour, which will maintain a 250,000 gallon water loop system at 370o F. The resulting facility is an integrated plant with a heating capacity of 400 million Btu's / hr, with emergency plant power capability in the unlikely event a facility wide power outage occurs. 

Diagram of the Cogeneration Plant at Rutgers University





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Special thanks to the EPA, DOE, EIA, ASHRAE, and ACEEE for providing data and relevant information.  


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