Cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power, produces electricity and heat in one single process, resulting to about 90 percent in energy savings.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the figure is way above the 55 percent in energy savings that other advanced efficiency technologies can deliver.
But now, trade group Cogen Europe, is saying cogeneration actually has a chief role in reducing emissions from fossil fuel use.
The group said cogeneration will allow Europe to save 170 million metric tons in carbon dioxide emissions, and make biofuels a more sustainable option if cogeneration technology is used in its plants.
The association said adopting cogeneration in industrial processes is the only feasible way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions until 2030, when carbon capture and storage will be commercially available.
“At a time when we need to greatly improve the energy efficiency of Europe’s energy system, it is important that we focus on the measures like cogeneration that really can deliver energy saving results,” said Fiona Hall, a liberal democrat in the European Parliament.
“In their reporting on potential for cogeneration, member states have uncovered huge possibilities for energy saving. We need to move now to the ‘how’ of delivering that,» Ms. Hall said.
The association believes the first step should come from policy reforms that promote the technology at the national level, especially in cities and industries. Biomass and waste water resources should be tapped for cogeneration, it said.
The association estimates that around 100,000 workers are employed in the cogeneration sector, with 12 European countries involved.
In November, the European Commission released an Energy 2020 communication, which spells out plans for Europe’s energy through 2050, was criticized because of its stress on low-carbon technologies instead of renewable energy.