Combined Heat and Power; what is it and how can it save you money?
A combined heat and power system (CHP) is a simple way to utilise energy lost during the electricity generation process
The term ‘CHP’ essentially refers to a system which works to extend the usage of energy beyond its normal capacity. Imagine a power station, turbines spinning to generate power through utilisation of fossil fuels, water, wind etc. Whilst producing energy these systems also produce a monumental amount of heat which is traditionally vented through cooling towers or extracted and released by extractor fans. A CHP system reuses this heat either as a secondary energy source, using steam to generate power, or by simply rerouting the heat to warm the building or provide hot water. Simple, right?
Now scale down that idea – let’s say you own a large hotel and like most buildings of a certain size you have a gas-powered generator tucked away somewhere. The traditional approach is to consume gas to produce power and heat, extracting the heat and utilising the power. Implementing the usage of a CHP unit means that the heat generated during this process can be redistributed within the site to provide heating, hot water or even cooling with the correct setup.
Photo credit https://www.researchgate.net/figure/278389893_fig4_Figure-4-Combined-Heat-Power-CHP-system
30% more efficient than traditional forms of energy production
The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) claims that CHP technologies are up to 30% more efficient than traditional forms of energy production and can also be flexible, using both natural gas and renewable fuels such as biomass, biogas and hydrogen. Despite this it is estimated that the UK government is missing out on savings of up to £774 Million per year for the economy by failing to incorporate CHP units at the power generation stage. The ADE’s analysis found building CHP units instead of power-only gas plants would help save between £656 Million to £774 Million per year on energy bills by 2030.
UK businesses are leading the way
It’s not all doom and gloom however! As is typical in this sector it seems that UK businesses are leading the way, as the ADE found that more than 2,000 businesses across the UK are already using CHP, delivering more than £375 million per year in cost savings to the economy whilst removing more than 6.7 million tonnes of carbon. The technology is ideal for a wide variety of sectors and is particularly popular amongst owners of:
- Data Centres
- Industrial sites
- Mixed occupancy developments
Our OPTIMeyes division, who specialise in identifying and providing energy efficiency solutions, have already identified numerous sites within our portfolio which could benefit from this technology and they advise that you should always consider CHP units when:
- Designing a new building
- Installing or replacing a new boiler plant
- Replacing or refurbishing an existing plant
- Reviewing electricity supply, standby electricity generation or plant
- Considering energy efficiency in general
- Exploring options towards building regulation compliance
- Reducing CO2 emissions and environmental impact
The bottom line
You are paying for the energy you use, and as we all know well the cost of energy is rising year on year. If you are a business owner and your sites produce heat in any way, be it through ovens, generators, refrigeration or anything else, then you have two options:
Accept that you are essentially paying for the privilege of dumping excess heat into the world.
By use of a CHP you can make that heat work for you, reducing your energy costs and lowering your carbon footprint.
We are here to help!
Contact our team for a no-obligation, no-cost review to see if a CHP unit is right for your business. We can arrange for this technology to be installed at zero upfront cost with a number of payback options including a share of savings agreement. Under this arrangement your bottom line goes up, your carbon footprint goes down and your long-term savings go up!
Our team are experts in energy efficiency and are available to assist you and your business today.
Kieron Blundell, MAXIMeyes