Combined Heat & Power


Photo of a fireplace

The use of biomass instead of fossil fuels in combined heat and power applications can provide advantages such as reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur and mercury emissions, energy cost savings, waste reduction, and local economic development.

Integrated energy systems can use waste heat recovery technology to capture heat byproducts and then generate electricity.

By adding biomass fuels into the energy generation process, significant efficiency gains can be achieved.

Many sectors, such as pulp and paper and food-processing plants, can produce steam or hot water and electricity from biomass.

By using a single-source fuel such as biomass with a cogeneration (CHP) system, the simultaneous production of heat and electricity can be achieved. This can be very advantageous: not only can it supply on-site power, but excess power could also potentially be sold back to the grid.

CanmetENERGY has expertise in the field of advanced combustion. We collaborate with industry and government to increase the use of safe, non-polluting biomass combustion systems by developing technical protocol and standards. Our scientists and researches focus on the following processes:


The pyrolysis process produces bio-oil by rapidly heating biomass in the absence of oxygen. Part of our focus is examining the challenges of biomass pyrolysis, including feed preparation, scale-up issues, conversion systems, and costs.

Biomass Gasification

The biomass gasification process is aimed at producing clean gaseous products at specific chemical compositions that can be converted to higher-value products (such as fuels, chemicals, and power). The gas clean-up requirements depend on its end-use applications. The gaseous product can be directly co-fired in a boiler for heat generation without further clean-up. Power generation in an engine or turbine set requires gas products to be cleaned and conditioned.

Fischer-Tropsch Gas-to-Liquid

The Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquid process, on the other hand, has an extremely low level of tolerance for impurities in the syngas. The major research and development (R&D) focus in gasification has been and continues to be on gas clean-up and conditioning.

Biomass Combustion Process

The biomass combustion process aims for the complete oxidation of the fuel. The hot gases from combustion can be used for space heating and process heat purposes or for electricity generation in a boiler. R&D efforts are focused on developing advanced biomass-burning technologies; improving existing combustion technology; optimizing systems to reduce emissions and improve efficiency; and assisting certifying bodies in ensuring safe, reliable operation.

To find out more about combined heat and power visit our publications section.

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