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September 13, 2022

Your Complete Guide to CHP

What is CHP (Combined Heat and Power)

Combined Heat and Power, or CHP, is a method of creating heat and electricity simultaneously. It does this by capturing the heat generated by its electricity generation, making it much more efficient than other electricity-generating methods, as it does not waste lots of the energy it churns out in the form of heat.

CHP will drastically reduce a business's energy usage and costs, as they will no longer have the need for a conventional boiler as their heat and hot water will come directly from the electricity generated by the CHP system they have installed.

How do CHP systems work?

To understand CHP, you must know the process of the system, here is the step-by-step process by which CHP generates electricity and recovers heat:

Combustion Turbine, or Reciprocating Engine, with Heat Recovery Unit
  1. Fuel Input: The process begins with a fuel source, which can be natural gas, biomass, coal, or oil. This fuel is fed into the system to be used for combustion.
  2. Electricity Generation: The combustion of the fuel generates heat. This heat is used to produce steam or to power an internal combustion engine or a gas turbine. The steam, engine, or turbine is connected to an electrical generator, which converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy. This electricity can then be used for various applications, such as powering homes or businesses.
  3. Heat Recovery: In conventional power generation, a significant amount of heat produced during electricity generation is lost as waste. However, in a CHP system, this heat is captured using a heat recovery system. This system consists of a series of heat exchangers that absorb heat from the exhaust gases or the engine/turbine's cooling system.
  4. Using the Captured Heat: The captured heat can be used in several ways. It can be transported through a network of pipes to provide heating for buildings or facilities. It can also be used to produce hot water. In industrial settings, this heat can be used directly in manufacturing processes, such as drying, cooking, or chemical processing.
  5. Additional Components: CHP systems may include additional components like boilers to produce more steam, or chillers for cooling purposes, using the waste heat to drive absorption refrigeration cycles.
  6. Control Systems: Modern CHP systems are equipped with sophisticated control systems to optimize the balance between electricity and heat production based on current demands. These systems ensure the most efficient operation of the CHP plant.

Types of CHP Systems

Sorry to complicate things, but there are various types of CHP systems which make use of different types of fuels and are viable for different spaces and businesses.

The benefits of CHP for your business

There are various benefits of CHP, as they not only cut costs and energy usage but are better for the environment as they can drastically reduce your carbon footprint.

A clear benefit of CHP which we have mentioned throughout this blog is the reduction is energy costs which you are likely to receive when installing CHP, as you will be replacing your current boiler with the heat and hot water produced by the CHP unit, all of the costs which are associated with it will be cut! As we all know, these costs can be drastic, especially during an energy crisis. This cut will add up to around a 20% reduction in your energy bills.

Another advantage of CHP is its smaller carbon footprint, as they typically have an efficiency of 80%, this is much better than traditional energy systems, therefore creating less greenhouse gasses and is much better for the environment, in fact, CHP units can save up to 30% on carbon emissions.

Fuel supply security is always a worry and issue for businesses that rely on the grid for their electricity and heat/hot water. CHP cuts this instability by generating its own electricity, meaning you can reduce your reliance on the grid and avoid the risk of power outages.

How much does CHP cost?

For a full breakdown of Combined Heat and Power Finance, GOV.UK have an in-depth guide which you can use to learn more about the financial side of CHP.

Is CHP worth the investment?

CHP units/systems are a great investment for any energy-intensive businesses who want to create energy independence and reduce their costs, as well as their carbon footprint. But is it really worth the investment?

Firstly, CHP boilers are a great choice for businesses for the reasons previously mentioned, as well as lasting years with minimal maintenance costs and upkeep. However, any large investment in your business should be well thought out and you should always seek professional guidance.

Our experts can help you make a choice on whether you would benefit from a CHP boiler, and help you get started. All you have to do is get in touch and we will take it from there.

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