Insights from the “Decarbonization of the Commercial and Industrial Sectors” Panel for the CHP Alliance 2020 Summit

Nov 3, 2020


By Kim Cruz, Senior Marketing Communications Specialist, Solar Turbines Incorporated

At the CHP Alliance Summit, Solar Turbines Incorporated sponsored a panel on how combined heat and power (CHP) can help in decarbonizing the commercial and industrial sectors. The panel was facilitated by Chris Lyons of Solar Turbines with presentations by David Jones, Manager with ICF International, Paul Dunn, President of CarbonPoint Solutions, and Pete Ashley, European Energy Engineer for Cargill.

This panel considered how, both now and into the future, CHP can help to decarbonize buildings, hospitals, universities, colleges, and industry requiring .

David Jones reviewed his study on the overall CO2 emissions of grid supplied power in U.S. states out to 2030 and 2050 with each state’s future renewable targets. This study showed that except for New York and California, which have aggressive renewable portfolio standards, CHP using natural gas is still a lower overall producer of CO2 out to 2050.

Paul Dunn showed that can decarbonize with a technology that uses exhaust gas recirculation and oxygen to more cost effectively use currently available carbon capture technologies such as mole sieves by concentrating the CO2 of the exhaust. Today, the best use of the captured CO2 is for enhanced oil recovery, but future uses of this sequestered CO2 are being developed by the (DOE) and others.

Pete Ashley with Cargill, a company that has been in business for 155 years with over 155,000 employees a major supplier of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products to people around the world and with major energy needs for their operation, gave an overview of how they evaluate and consider using CHP to both provide economic savings and in many cases reduce their carbon footprint.  Going forward, while Cargill will still be looking at other renewable options, they realize the importance of CHP when they have thermal needs.

During these panel discussions, it became apparent that CHP is a great way to have a cost effective and lower overall GHG emissions supply for electric power and thermal needs, due to the efficient use of natural gas. In addition, as more intermittent supply of renewable solar and wind is brought online, CHP for both commercial and industrial sectors can be a resilient and low carbon polluting option while reduce operating cost for these applications.

A variety of questions were asked on cost of carbon capture, future changes in CHP efficiencies, and ability of using lower carbon fuel options. These discussions indicated that the cost of carbon capture is more difficult at commercial size class due to scale, but plausible depending on the ultimate cost of carbon. Efficiency improvements are possible using lower grade heat and many future possibilities to use lower carbon fuels like hydrogen.

Stay up to date with Solar Turbines, follow us on LinkedIn or visit our website at For specific information related to CHP and decarbonization, contact Chris Lyons at or by phone at 1-619-322-6054.