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Escalating Environmental Concerns to Drive the Global Market for Cogeneration Equipment

Cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), remains a highly underutilized technology, although the technology has been available in the market for about 130 years. Currently the global cogeneration equipment market is on the verge of a very exciting phase of development, in view of the record high energy prices coupled with rising environmental concerns that are pushing the world towards alternatives such as cogeneration. The need to comply with emission reduction targets set as per the Kyoto Protocol is also driving Governments to encourage alternate technologies. Cogeneration with its very high energy efficiency and ability to reduce CO2 emissions forms an integral part of these plans. Rising awareness levels, introduction of new incentives, superior approval norms and favorable CHP development policies are expected to result in increased investments from industrial as well as commercial customers. Growth is likely to emanate mostly from developed regions, with the US and the EU leading the charge. Liberalization of energy markets and growing demand for decentralized energy in developing countries also bodes well for the cogeneration market.

As stated by the new market research report on Cogeneration Equipment, the global economic recession and volatile natural gas prices discouraged new investments into the cogeneration market. Lack of funding resulted in either cancellations or deferrals of several utility projects during this period, which in turn led to reduced demand for power generation equipment. In particular, the year 2009 proved to be a difficult time for market participants in view of the tough financial conditions. Though the year 2010 witnessed early signs of economic recovery, concerns continue to be raised over the pace of recovery, which could further prevent investors from investing into the sector. While the world economy is still struggling to cope with the economic downturn, the Eurozone crisis is creating havoc in the economies of various European countries, with the effects of this crisis spilling over to the global market as well.

Industrial sector offers the greatest potential for cogeneration technology. Cogeneration systems are used mostly in energy-intensive sectors such as process and manufacturing industries including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, refining, petrochemicals, sugar & alcohol, and pulp and paper. Growing pressure to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions is a major driving factor for the market. Industrial sites in oil refining, chemicals, food processing, metals, and pulp and paper sectors account for over three-fourth share of the global CHP capacity. By the year 2030, penetration of cogeneration technologies in India and China is expected to reach 25-30% driven by adequate incentives and favorable policy initiatives. In particular, China holds enormous potential for cogeneration technology, in view of the country’s expansive industrial base. In addition to the industrial sector, there exists enormous potential for CHP technology’s usage in small scale applications across commercial and residential facilities. The technology is of prime importance for businesses that require continuous and reliable power supply, for instance hospitals, data centers, industrial operations and universities.

Gas Turbines represent the largest product market, globally. The need to comply with global agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol, is driving Governments to look beyond coal-based power generation, in order to reduce harmful Greenhouse gas emissions. This has thrown the spotlight on sustainable and energy efficient technologies, including HRSG and gas turbine market for cogeneration. Europe represents the largest market for gas turbines. Combustion or gas turbines, and steam turbines are considered ideal for use in industrial processes, owing to larger capacity and their ability to generate mid-to-high temperature steam that is of enormous significance in industrial processes.

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