An ecological performance analysis for an irreversible dual-cycle cogeneration system has been performed. The objective function is called as the exergetic-performance coefficient (EPC) and defined as the ratio of total exergy output to the loss rate of availability. The general and optimal performances of the irreversible dual-cycle cogeneration system, having a finite-rate of heat transfer, heat leak and internal irreversibilities based on the EPC objective function have been investigated. Comparisons with respect to the optimal total-exergy output are also provided in order to establish the utility of the new exergetic-performance coefficient. The analyzed results of the dual-cycle cogeneration system considered, working at maximum EPC conditions, have a significant advantage in terms of entropy-generation rate and can be used for the selection of optimal design parameters. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.