Worldwide emphasis on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels has moved cogeneration to center stage for bulk power generation. According to a study from Allied Business Intelligence, Inc., the U.S. and the European Union intend to at least double their installed cogeneration capacity by 2010. Global cogeneration capacity in 1998 was about 200 GW, a little more than 6 percent of world generation capacity. That fraction is close to the U.S. cogeneration percentage. The portion climbs as high as 60 percent in Sweden and falls as low as 2.5 percent in France.

"Distributed cogeneration technologies will engender new multi-billion dollar markets that will change forever the way that societies furnish themselves with electricity, heat and cooling," the report notes. "Microturbines, fuel cells, and Stirling engines will become broadly available in the next five years. Sales of these microcogenerators could total $10 billion in a decade as they power homes, small businesses and industries and remote sites."