Combined Heat and Power Systems are continuing to rise in popularity across the board. Originally reserved for the largest-scale industrial settings, modern technology has made it easier to access for medium businesses too – specifically those with high energy demands. The manufacturing industry specifically, has taken advantage of these energy-saving models, with many turning their backs on traditional methods. But what are the benefits and why has cogeneration become such a popular power solution for these businesses? Read our latest guide.
How Does CHP Work?
CHP systems use a well-honed technology that produces both electricity and heat in the same process. They do this by burning the chosen fuel (natural gas, oil or biomass) and then utilising the gas released during this process to turn a generator. This works within the engine or boiler to produce electricity. The thermal byproduct produced during this process is captured and used to heat water that gets pushed through your central heating system. It can be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating or to supply hot water to your taps and water systems.
When built for your demands and installed properly, the right CHP unit can improve overall efficiency by as much as 80%. Businesses can save an estimated 40% on their energy bills – a significant saving if your industry is highly dependent on electricity or heating for everyday functions. Here in the UK, the manufacturing and the industrial sector accounts for 16% of total energy consumption across all businesses, making them significant consumers. And for the business owner, finding ways to reduce these costs frees up money for other avenues and projects.
The Benefits for the Manufacturing Industry
CHP systems are an ideal solution for high-energy usage businesses – namely those that require over 40,000-50,000 hours of power every single year. When optimised efficiently for a business, they allow you to make significant savings on bills. But this isn’t the only benefit for those in the manufacturing industry. CHP systems also:
Research has shown that cogeneration systems are almost 50% more efficient than mains grid electricity or boiler heat. This means that, when sized appropriately and specified exactly to their chosen environment, they help businesses make the most of every single penny spent. The right system will boost overall efficiency to as high as 90%.
For many businesses, specifically those within the manufacturing sector, carbon emissions have become a key focus for reduction. As a nation, we are becoming increasingly aware of the damage that these can cause and technology is advancing to find alternatives that can keep up with an ever-increasing demand. CHP systems fuelled with biomass or natural gases are highly efficient, reducing our demand for mains generation systems. They also combine the production of electricity and heat, cutting down on the number of generation sources and the emissions produced by each one. In fact, by merging this process and creating both heat and power simultaneously, they are said to cut carbon emissions by an estimated 30% compared with conventional means.
Low Fuel Costs
The costs of traditional fuel sources are rising continuously right now. In contrast, natural gas has stayed at a consistently low price, helping to drive the popularity of CHP systems. When separated from mains electricity, these cost-effective solutions can generate ample power and heat but at a much-reduced rate. This is known as an increase in spark spread – the difference between retail cost energy and the cost of fuel used to generate that energy. Gas continues to be cheaper than electricity and, because CHP’s can return on investment within 3 years, they support businesses in saving money across the board.
Help to Generate Income
For very high usage businesses, CHP systems offer the opportunity to bring more money in. Excess energy can be sold back to the mains grid through schemes such as the Demand Side Response schemes. These support the grid, keeping it in balance while ensuring that the business generator has the required supply needed for its means.
Exemption from Fees
Businesses within the UK gain a number of financial advantages from choosing a CHP system. These include being exempt from the Climate Change Levy which can result in significant savings. For example, those in the manufacturing business can hope to save as much as 5% seeing as this levy is one of the biggest taxes placed on corporations to date.
Independence and Security for Energy
Businesses reliant on the mains electricity or gas supply are also subject to any surges, shutdowns or fluctuations in power. This puts them at the mercy of the grid, meaning that business may need to slow or come to a halt in certain situations. Having a CHP system independently generates the energy you need, normally providing 97% availability when well maintained. This keeps operations running smoothly while also opening up the field for emergency generators that can run in the background, should they be required.
Best Types of CHP System for Manufacturing Businesses
CHP systems need to be appropriately sized and configured to meet your needs in order for them to be efficient. This is done by taking into account demand, spark spread and the duration of requirements. Gas turbine CHP systems are one of the most popular users within the industry, due to their scale and capacity. They can improve efficiency by as much as 70% – equally significant savings and emission reductions for medium to large businesses.
Here at Energimizer, we specialise in bringing the right combined heat and power unit to all of our clients – including those within the manufacturing and industrial sector. Our engineers have over 20 years of experience creating solutions that fit your budget and requirements. If you have any questions about our range of smartblock motors or to speak to a member of the team, please do get in contact with us here today to discover more.