Sustainability

Cogeneration

Unison has engineered its solutions to be a part of our clients on-going energy sustainability and resiliency programs. Combined heat and power systems optimize energy use, thereby cutting fuel costs and pollution and promoting sustainable energy use.

Many of our clients are focused on what they can change in their supply chain to lower their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

Unison’s CHP solutions have high electrical efficiencies (37-43%) as well as best in class electric + thermal energy efficiencies of 60-85%. As a comparison, the average utility efficiency in the markets we serve is 35%. Our innovative on-site CHP solutions use clean fuels and leading-edge emissions technology to allow us to reduce NOx, SOx and CO2 emissions to levels well below permitted standards, helping our clients achieve their sustainability goals.

Unison Energy helps clients reach their sustainability goals by reducing their carbon footprint by 20% or more. For a client with an annual electric spend of $500,000, this is equivalent to reducing 600 to 700 metric tons of carbon per year or:

  • Planting 139 acres of pine or fir forest each year
  • Removing 127 cars from the road each year
  • Eliminating emissions from 72,870 gallons of gasoline each year

For an example of how Unison has helped one of our clients pursue its sustainability goals please see Case Study: Whole Foods, San Jose.

Carbon reductions are not just good stewardship, they are good business. To help you get full value, we manage the verification, marketing and sale of renewable energy credits, carbon credits, and other environmental attributes of our systems. We also work with our clients to ensure they receive sufficient verifiable energy credits to support their marketing efforts and corporate sustainability objectives.

Aggressive National Goals for CHP

CHP solutions have been widely implemented in one-of-a-kind custom engineered projects and currently provides 9% (or 85GW) of power generation capacity in the U.S. today.  In 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) set an aggressive goal of having CHP comprise 20% of the US generation capacity by 2030. A study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) published in December 2008 estimates that, if CHP provided 20% of US generation capacity, this alone would avert 60% of potential growth in carbon dioxide emissions between 2006 and 2030. This would be equivalent to taking more than 150 million cars off the road.

Three Ways CHP Reduces Carbon Emissions

Using Waste Heat to Increase Efficiency

When a power plant burns fuel such as coal or natural gas, it creates two products, electricity and heat. Most power plants, located far away from users, can’t use the heat and “exhaust” it into the atmosphere as a waste product. Unison Energy co-locates our equipment on-site next to our clients. Our CHP systems produce electricity, capture heat from the exhaust and hot water from the engines to achieve up to 85% efficiency of input energy. We can use the thermal output to provide our client’s refrigeration, space heating/cooling, dehumidification, steam and hot water needs.  By putting the heat to good use, we have eliminated the need for additional electricity or fuel to create to this thermal energy and thus reduced the clients’ carbon footprint.

Eliminating Transmission Losses

Because most base-load and peaking power plants used by utilities need to transport the electricity generated across long distances over transmission lines, a typical utility will lose an additional 7-10% of the feedstock input energy as the electricity runs across those lines. By locating our “cogeneration” solutions at a client’s property, we have negligible transmission losses decreasing the use of input energy feedstocks and further reducing our clients’ carbon footprint.

Biogas and Flare Gas Solutions

Unison can provide biogas and natural gas-based generation options for customers with wastewater treatment systems that generate biogas.  Unison can do the same for customers who generate excess gas in their industrial or extraction process.

Reliable Energy Feedstock Sourcing

Unison Energy sources natural gas from reliable sources to power our CHP solutions. Unison Energy or our client can purchase the energy feedstock (e.g. natural gas) directly or as a direct pass-through if Unison Energy purchases the commodity.