What is CHP
Combined Heat and Power (CHP), also known as Cogeneration, is the most fuel efficient and environmentally friendly process of using a single fuel to simultaneously produce electricity and heat at the point of use.
Correctly sized and installed, Combined Heat and Power offers significant advantages to all sectors which have a simultaneous thermal and electrical load. The main advantages include substantial financial savings on utility costs, large carbon reduction and increased security of supply.
Natural gas is typically used as a fuel source (although biogas from anaerobic digestion and non-conventional gases can also be used as fuel) during combustion and releases mechanical energy which converts into electricity via the alternator. Heat is recovered via the engine exhaust heat exchanger to provide hot water and space heating to local infrastructure.
Cogeneration uses natural gas at extremely high efficiencies in the order of 85% – 90% when compared to conventional means of taking electrical energy from the grid and thermal energy from on-site boilers, which may be up to 40% less efficient.
Where is CHP used?
Facilities with 24hr/7day load profiles can maximise savings as longer run hours produce more savings and improve payback times. However, CHP is also suitable for applications with lower operational hours, typical 15 hours per day for 5-7 days a week.
Combined Heat and Power is used across a wide range of industry sectors including; hospitals, universities, data centres, farming, agriculture, food and drink processing, sewage and wastewater treatment facilities, industrial and commercial building.
When to consider CHP?
Cogeneration can be retrofitted within an existing building. However, to maximise the full benefits and payback, its application should be considered at the start of the project when:
- Designing a new building or energy centre
- Installing new boiler plant
- Replacing existing plant
- Managing electricity supply and security
- Reviewing standby electrical generation capacity
- Considering energy efficiency
What are the benefits?
Combined heat and power provides a number of substantial benefits, including:
- Reduced energy bills – CHP typically saving a minimum of 10% on previous energy expenditure
- Typical return on your investment payback in 3-4 years
- Significant reductions in carbon emissions
- Maintains security of power supply
- Improves financial forecasting (energy spend) and business competitiveness
- Enhances corporate ethics
For more information about CHP, please visit the Association of Decentralised Energy.