Reduce CO2 by Improving Performance

or… Improve Performance by Reducing CO2

As the framework for carbon cap-&-trade programs is developed, more people are starting to look for where we can reasonably hope to cut CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – quickly.

The most obvious way to stop emitting GHG, is to stop burning carbon-based fuels, such as natural gas, coal and oil.   And, there are many, many demand-side conservation programs in place, which are making a significant impact on reducing the amount of energy required for many processes.  But, I think we could all agree, that very few of us, if any, are willing to turn off the lights completely to reduce GHG.  So, how else can we reduce fuel consumption? 

By reducing supply-side GHG generation.  Reduce the amount of fuel per kWh generated. 

Which is exactly what improving heat rate does for existing generation facilities.  It reduces the amount of fuel burned (and GHG produced) per kWh generated.  There is a wealth of CO2 reduction potential in our existing power generation assets in the US.

As Steve Stallard points out in his article at EnergyCentral, performance monitoring programs on one way to not only improve your plant economics – but also to reduce your CO2 emissions.

Performance monitoring programs can point out where you are losing efficiency in your power generation facility; how your operators can make small changes which improve efficiency; and what you can expect from capital improvements in terms of increased capacity, reduced heat rate and reduced GHG emissions.

Now, if we could only get the regulations adjusted, such that new capacity at existing facilities – at improved heat rates – are not “new sources”, just better sources. 

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