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India will need to build 700-900 million square meters of commercial and residential space every year up until 2030 to meet the needs of a booming urban populace. Energy demand just for this sector is anticipated to rise by at least four times in this time frame

Large-scale, low-carbon, and cost-effective solutions are hence necessary for addressing this sector’s energy needs. We have identified trigeneration as such a viable alternative: with the advantage of simultaneously providing reliable power, heating and cooling supply using clean fuel, widespread adoption of this technology could significantly transform India’s energy landscape. By extension, trigeneration could hence significantly reduce the electricity load of buildings without compromising commercial activity and electricity grid stability.

What is trigeneration?

Trigeneration is the simultaneous process of cooling, heating and power generation from only one fuel input. Typically, gas-fired generators are used to produce electricity. The byproduct is waste heat, which is then directed to absorption chillers and boilers for space cooling, hot water and related purposes. India’s growing access to natural gas, a typical input for trigeneration systems and the cleanest burning hydrocarbon, will greatly enable wider adoption of trigeneration.

Trigeneration: Benefits and India relevance

Aggregating cross-sectoral demand, trigeneration has a potential of over 20,000 megawatts in India. Most relevant to sites where electricity, heating and cooling are all needed continually, trigeneration is ideal for data centres, industrial establishments, universities, hospitals, colleges, hotels, airports, and shopping malls.

  • Low payback period: Recent audits for trigeneration potential projects in India identified payback period on trigeneration integration in industrial applications to be as little as 2-3 years.
  • Buffer against electricity cost and outages: Using captive generation from gas-based trigeneration instead of electricity buffers industrial consumers against unforeseen spikes in electricity cost. As a relatively independent energy source, it can provide a reliable level of back-up power especially in critical applications, such as hospitals.
  • Replacing thermal energy: Using natural gas replaces dependence on coal, while nullifying the need for additional energy inputs for heat and cooling generation. Trigeneration systems can hence reduce an establishment’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50%.
  • Energy efficiency: Trigeneration plants enable up to 80% of primary energy to reach end use, as opposed to only 25% in conventional power plants. And, producing electricity on-site minimizes transmission losses from grid-sourced electricity.
  • Environmentally sustainable: Absorption chillers commonly use water or ammonia as a refrigerant, making trigeneration-based cooling a zero Ozone Depleting Potential and Global Warming Potential system.

Our venture into trigeneration

Our acquisition of Edina, UK’s leading supplier, installer and maintenance provider for combined heat and power (CHP), gas, and diesel power generation solutions enables us to capture international market potential for trigeneration.Edina’s turnkey services have earned the company over 30 awards in the UK, including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation Category 2014. Its bespoke containerised solution is a flexible, replicable and readily scalable proposition that has enabled Edina to sustain a gross profit margin of 23% since 2014 and achieve compound annual sales growth of 20% since FY13. The acquisition will also enable us to harness the potential of the UK’s £6 billion (INR 53,782 crore) energy efficiency market, while expanding the offering in the energy service contract model for trigeneration and Combined Heat & Power (CHP) technology. We will also expand Edina’s global footprint to a larger customer base across international markets, including India, bringing global best practices to domestic markets.

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