Biomass CHP (Combined Heat and Power)

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Biomass CHP (Combined Heat and Power) systems generate electricity and heat simultaneously from biomass fuels, such as wood chips, pellets, or agricultural residues. This technology offers high energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to separate heat and power generation systems.

Impact on climate action

Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) within Biomass for Heating & Power elevates climate action by efficiently utilizing organic waste for energy production. By generating heat and electricity simultaneously, this innovation reduces reliance on fossil fuels, mitigates greenhouse gas emissions, and promotes sustainable energy practices, combating climate change.


  • Biomass Combustion or Gasification: Biomass is either burned directly or converted into syngas through gasification.
  • Electricity Generation: The heat generated from biomass combustion or gasification is used to produce electricity, typically using steam turbines or internal combustion engines.
  • Heat Recovery: The waste heat from electricity generation is captured and used for heating purposes, such as space heating or industrial process heat.
  • System Integration and Optimization: Biomass CHP systems require sophisticated integration and optimization to ensure efficient and balanced electricity and heat generation.

TRL : 7-8

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Advanced Biomass Gasification Technologies: Innovations in biomass gasification, such as catalytic and plasma gasification, are improving the efficiency and syngas quality, leading to more efficient and cleaner CHP systems.
  • High-Efficiency Electricity Generation Technologies: Advancements in steam turbines and internal combustion engines are increasing the electrical efficiency of biomass CHP systems.
  • Integrated Heat Recovery Systems: Innovative heat recovery systems are maximizing the capture and utilization of waste heat from electricity generation, improving overall system efficiency.
  • Smart CHP Control Systems: Smart control systems and AI algorithms are being used to optimize CHP system operation in real-time, adjusting parameters based on energy demand and environmental conditions.
  • Micro-CHP Systems: Micro-CHP systems are small-scale CHP units that can be used in residential and commercial buildings, providing decentralized electricity and heat generation.

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • 2G Energy:
    • Technology Enhancement: 2G Energy specializes in the development and manufacturing of decentralized energy systems, including biomass-based CHP plants. Their systems utilize biomass, such as wood chips, agricultural residues, and organic waste, as fuel to generate electricity and heat simultaneously. 2G Energy’s CHP plants feature high efficiency and low emissions, leveraging advanced combustion and gasification technologies.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: 2G Energy stands out for its focus on modular and highly efficient CHP solutions for decentralized energy generation. Their biomass CHP plants offer flexibility, scalability, and reliability, making them suitable for various applications, including district heating, industrial processes, and agricultural operations.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: 2G Energy serves a diverse range of customers, including municipalities, industrial facilities, agricultural operations, and commercial buildings. Their biomass CHP plants provide cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions for meeting heat and power requirements, reducing energy costs, and achieving sustainability goals.
  • Clarke Energy:
    • Technology Enhancement: Clarke Energy is a leading provider of gas engines and CHP solutions, including biomass-fired CHP plants. They offer a range of biomass CHP systems powered by reciprocating engines, capable of utilizing various biomass fuels, such as wood pellets, forestry residues, and energy crops. Clarke Energy’s CHP solutions deliver high efficiency and reliability, with options for grid-connected or off-grid applications.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Clarke Energy stands out for its expertise in gas engine technology and its focus on delivering customized biomass CHP solutions tailored to customer requirements. Their systems are designed for optimal performance and flexibility, enabling customers to maximize energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and achieve energy independence.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Clarke Energy serves a wide range of industries and sectors, including agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, and utilities. Their biomass CHP plants are deployed in applications such as greenhouses, sawmills, food processing plants, and district heating networks, providing sustainable and reliable heat and power solutions.
  • Ener-Core:
    • Technology Enhancement: Ener-Core specializes in innovative power generation solutions, including biomass-to-energy systems based on their patented Power Oxidizer technology. Their biomass CHP plants convert low-quality and waste biomass fuels into clean energy through a unique oxidation process, generating electricity and heat with minimal emissions. Ener-Core’s systems offer high efficiency and environmental performance, with applications in waste-to-energy, landfill gas, and biomass energy projects.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Ener-Core stands out for its novel approach to biomass energy conversion and its focus on addressing challenging waste streams and low-quality biomass fuels. Their Power Oxidizer technology enables the utilization of a wide range of biomass feedstocks, including agricultural residues, forestry waste, and organic waste streams, contributing to resource recovery and environmental sustainability.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Ener-Core serves customers in industries such as waste management, agriculture, and renewable energy development. Their biomass CHP solutions are deployed in landfill gas-to-energy projects, biomass power plants, and industrial facilities seeking to convert waste streams into valuable energy resources while minimizing environmental impact.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Technical University of Munich (TUM):
    • Research Focus: TUM is at the forefront of research on Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP), focusing on developing efficient and sustainable technologies for converting biomass into heat and power in integrated energy systems.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the design and optimization of biomass combustion, gasification, and pyrolysis systems coupled with steam turbines, gas engines, or fuel cells to produce combined heat and power. They also investigate advanced control strategies, emissions reduction techniques, and biomass feedstock characterization to improve system performance and environmental sustainability.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in district heating networks, industrial processes, and rural electrification. By utilizing biomass for CHP, TUM’s research contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy security, and promoting the transition to renewable energy sources in heating and power generation.
  • University of British Columbia (UBC):
    • Research Focus: UBC conducts innovative research on Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP), leveraging its expertise in bioenergy, thermal engineering, and sustainable development to develop scalable and cost-effective solutions for utilizing biomass resources.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the development of biomass-fired boilers, gasifiers, and steam turbines for cogeneration applications, as well as integrated energy systems with heat storage, district heating, and biorefinery components. They also explore biomass supply chain optimization, waste-to-energy conversion technologies, and policy frameworks to support the deployment of biomass CHP.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in institutional campuses, industrial facilities, and remote communities. By harnessing biomass for combined heat and power generation, UBC’s research supports decarbonizing heat and power sectors, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and fostering regional economic development.
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):
    • Research Focus: NREL is engaged in cutting-edge research on Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP), leveraging its expertise in renewable energy technologies, systems analysis, and policy to advance the deployment of biomass-based CHP systems.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves techno-economic modeling, life cycle assessment, and resource mapping to evaluate the feasibility, sustainability, and economic viability of biomass CHP projects. They also develop decision support tools, best practices guides, and outreach initiatives to accelerate market adoption and regulatory compliance.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in rural communities, agricultural processing facilities, and industrial parks. By promoting biomass CHP deployment, NREL’s research contributes to improving energy access, reducing air pollution, and fostering rural development while addressing climate change mitigation goals.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Biomass CHP systems are commercially available and are being implemented in various industries and applications around the world. For example, biomass CHP systems are used in the pulp and paper industry, food processing plants, and district heating systems.