Emission characterization and evaluation of natural gas-fueled cogeneration microturbines and internal combustion engines

Aldo Canova, Gianfranco Chicco, Giuseppe Genon, Pierluigi Mancarella

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The increasing diffusion of small-scale energy systems within the distributed generation (DG) paradigm is raising the need for studying the environmental impact due to the different DG solutions in order to assess their sustainability. Addressing the environmental impact calls for building specific models for studying both local and global emissions. In this framework, the adoption of natural gas-fueled DG cogeneration technologies may provide, as a consequence of cogeneration enhanced overall energy efficiency and of natural gas relatively low carbon content, a significant reduction of global impact in terms of CO2 emissions with respect to the separate production of electricity and heat. However, a comprehensive evaluation of the DG alternatives should take into account as well the impact due to the presence of plants spread over the territory that could increase the local pollution, in particular due to CO and NOx, and thus could worsen the local air quality. This paper provides an overview on the characterization of the emissions from small-scale natural gas-fueled cogeneration systems, with specific reference to the DG technologies nowadays most available in the market, namely, microturbines and internal combustion engines. The corresponding local and global environmental impacts are evaluated by using the emission balance approach. A numerical case study with two representative machines highlights their different emission characteristics, also considering the partial-load emission performance. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2900-2909
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


    • Cogeneration
    • Distributed generation
    • Internal combustion engines
    • Local and global environmental impact
    • Microturbines


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