co·​gen·​e·​ra·​tion ˌkō-ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce cogeneration (audio)
: the production of electricity using waste heat (as in steam) from an industrial process or the use of steam from electric power generation as a source of heat
cogenerator noun

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Cogeneration is basically the production of energy and usable heat (generally in the form of steam and hot water) in the same plant, usually by capturing heat that in older plants used to be simply wasted. It's one of the principal ways in which countries intend to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions so as to slow climate change. Cogeneration plants are often small, and the fuels used in them are varied. Lumber mills, for instance, can operate their own cogeneration plants, feeding them with wood scraps and sawdust, and wastewater treatment plants generate gas that can likewise be used as a source of energy. Since it's hard to move heat long distances, cogeneration is most efficient when the heat can be used nearby. Though the general public today knows little about cogeneration, more and more of us will be benefiting from it in the coming years.

Examples of cogeneration in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Chen’s research included the modeling of electrical loads, the effect of voltage control in energy savings, real-time testing to improve power system efficiency, computer representation of cogeneration systems, reducing efficiency losses in transmission lines, and voltage stability. Martha Hurley, IEEE Spectrum, 7 June 2023 In our progress roundup, ingenuity and necessity play their parts: An Oregon community has financed a cogeneration water treatment plant for its growing population, and a Dutch nonprofit is helping refugees in Algeria manufacture sellable goods from the plastic littering their camp. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 May 2022 However, two members of the five-member panel issued a separate statement expressing concern that Alabama regulators may be violating federal policies designed to encourage the development of cogeneration and small power production facilities and to reduce the demand for fossil fuels. Kim Chandler, Star Tribune, 13 July 2021 Sharp’s power plant uses a process known as cogeneration, sometimes shortened to cogen, to capture and use heat that might otherwise drift into the atmosphere, a method long pushed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Blake Nelsonstaff Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Jan. 2023 More than 200 hospitals have built cogeneration — or co-gen — plants. Karen Pennar, STAT, 27 Oct. 2022 The expansion will construct energy cogeneration units, which the company says will reduce emissions by more than 60 percent at the facility. William Thornton |, al, 23 Dec. 2019 The good news was that the university runs its own cogeneration plant, or cogen, which could provide some of the campus’ buildings with power in the event of an outage. Wired, 15 Oct. 2019 The company, which employs 600 people in Houston, provides clean electricity generation, cogeneration and energy storage, retail energy and other services in the U.S. and Canada. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, 15 Aug. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cogeneration.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1976, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cogeneration was in 1976

Dictionary Entries Near cogeneration

Cite this Entry

“Cogeneration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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