What is CHP?
CHP stands for Combined Heat & Power and refers to the simultaneous generation of useful heat and electricity. It is also known as 'Cogeneration' or 'Cogen'.
Although more and more electricity is generated around the world from solar energy and wind, traditionally up to 85% of electrical power is produced in thermal power plants and often much of the heat is wasted. With Combined Heat & Power or Cogeneration the heat is used locally for an industrial process or for district heating. As the UK makes the transition to a low-carbon economy, district heating is expected to play a significant part in this.
The most appropriate applications for a CHP unit and where Cogeneration is most efficient is when there is a significant and continuous heat demand. CHP plant can deliver this locally and generate electricity which can either be used locally or easily and efficiently transported to other locations or exported to the grid.
Trigeneration is Combined Cooling, Heat & Power where cooling is delivered via absorption chillers.
How Does CHP Work?
You can think of your car engine as a CHP plant in winter. It powers the car and the waste heat produced is used to warm the interior.
CHP plant works based on the supply of high temperature heat from a biomass boiler or fossil fuel driven boiler. The high temperature heat drives a gas or steam turbine-powered generator and the remaining heat is then used for the intended local application. This could be an industrial process like drying or in a production process or for district heating, for example.
There are many different types of CHP plant with different fuel types and systems to generate electricity. At Ecoliving, our focus is on Biomass CHP which attracts the UK government's Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) with payments over 20 years based on heat generated, which offers a very rewarding return on investment. There is also a case for gas CHP where the application will deliver benefits to the customer and a good return on investment.
Ecoliving conducts feasibility studies to look at the viability of projects, potential payback and potential return on investment. We work with leading UK and EU CHP suppliers and manufacturers and our approach is always consultative to understand the needs of the customer and the specific application in order to design the most appropriate CHP solution.