Full Article by Suresh Jambunathan on LinkedIn:
Combined Heat & Power (CHP) refers to a suite of technologies to simultaneously generate power and thermal energy from primary energy sources like natural gas. Most CHP systems are “topping cycle” since electricity is the primary product and waste heat is recaptured and reused. The core components of a CHP system include a “prime mover” such as a Gas Turbine (GT) or Reciprocating Engine (RE) tied to a Waste Heat Recovery (WHR) unit. The WHR unit can be a steam or hot water boiler or counter-intuitively a Vapor Absorption Chiller (VAC); basically a heat exchanger that uses otherwise wasted heat to make chilled water.
Data Centers are a densely packed cluster of computers and are critical nodes of today’s internet. Unless you are an “off-grid” ascetic, in which case you would not be reading this story -- you depend on a DC each time you access the internet through your computer or your smartphone for trivial (facebook photos) or important (reading this article!) tasks.
So what’s the link between CHP and data centers? Technically speaking, well-designed CHP is a foundational element of data center system design and deployment. In economic terms, a CHP system must improve the economics of a DC. What does this assertion mean? Let’s start by listing data center “wants and needs”, then map to the features and benefits of CHP.