WTH Is CHP? A Guide to the Energy Industry’s Acronyms

Posted by Clare Burns on 27-May-2014 10:00:00

Don't let abbreviations and acronyms cause CHP confusion. Learn all the terms you need here.


Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is a complex technology. Making it more difficult to understand sometimes is the long list of abbreviations used in the industry.

To help you muddle through the alphabet, here’s a short list of abbreviations.

These are the ones you will probably hear the most when discussing CHP (there it is again).

Acronyms related to Combined Heat and Power (CHP):

CHP - Combined Heat and Power 

Also known as cogeneration, which describes the production of heat and electricity in the same process.

CCHP - Combined Cooling, Heat and Power

Also known as trigeneration, these systems divert some of the heat produced into an absorption or adsorption refrigerator and produce cooling.

DH - District Heating

The provision of heating from a central plant via a piped network to a collection of consumers.

COP - Coefficient of performance

Used to measure effectiveness of devices such as heat pumps and absorbers, this refers to the ratio of heating or cooling provided to electrical energy consumed. Higher COPs mean lower operating costs.

More acronyms related to Combined Heat and Power (CHP):

DER  - Distributed Energy Resource

This is another term for on-site or embedded power generation, which is what a CHP unit is.

ECM - Energy Conservation Measures

Take these before you design and size your CHP, to be sure it fits your building envelope.

ESA - Energy Services Agreement

This pay-as-you-save agreement packages up energy efficiency measures, often with little to no up-front cost for the customer. Instead, the agreement is funded via savings from one or more energy conservation measures, such as a CHP.

HRSG - Heat Recovery Steam Generator

A heat recovery device that uses hot exhaust gases from engines or turbines in a CHP plant to heat up water and generate steam.

WHRB - Waste Heat Recovery Boiler

Another name for an HRSG.

EGHX - Exhaust Gas Heat Exchanger

A heat recovery device that uses hot exhaust gases to generate hot water.

HMI - Human Machine Interface

This is typically a touch screen on the CHP control panel through which the unit can be controlled.

Measurement terms:

MW - Megawatt

A megawatt is equal to one million watts. Commercial buildings may use several megawatts in electric power and heat.

MWe - Megawatt Electrical

This is referring to megawatts of electrical power rather than, say, heating energy, that is expressed by Megawatt Thermal (MWth).

MWh - Megawatt Hour

One million watt hours. The average UK home uses 20,721 kWh per year, or around 2.7% of a MWh.

PSIG - Pounds per Square Inch Gauge

A measure of pressure.

MPa - Megapascal

The metric unit of measuring pressure.

Government agencies, governing bodies and trade associations.

CENELEC - European Committee for Electro-technical Standardisation


CHPA - Combined Heat and Power Association


COGEN EUROPE - European Association for the Promotion of Cogeneration


DECC - Department of Energy and Climate Change (UK)


ISO - International Organization for Standardization


WADE - World Alliance for Decentralized Energy


CIBSE - Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers


IET – Institute of Engineering and Technology


BSI – British Standards Institute


OFGEM - Office of gas and electricity markets


DCLG - Department for Communities and Local Government www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-communities-and-local-government

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Topics: CHP / Cogeneration, Guides

Clare Burns

Clare Burns is a technical marketer with many years’ experience in the energy arena, as well as in fashion, telecoms and education. Fluent in 3 languages, Clare has worked across Europe. She currently works for ENER-G, a UK manufacturer of carbon reducing, energy efficient products exporting its cogeneration technology across the globe.