A CHP plant (Combined Heat and Power) can have the single largest impact on a food factory’s energy costs over any other energy saving measure. A recent CHP plant developed and delivered by Smeaton Wood Energy for a dairy factory is delivering 75% of the sites electricity demand (total demand 10.5GWh or £1m spend). In addition the CHP plant is generating 40% of the sites heat load. On a project costing £1m it is bringing net savings of £360k per annum and will operate for 10-15 years.
What is Combined Heat and Power (CHP)?
A CHP plant is a mains gas powered combustion engine utilised to generate electricity for a premises or process. A combined heat and power plant retains the heat generated by the engine to be reused for heating space or a process. The efficiency of using the heat produced in the generation process can bring significant energy savings. If you don’t have access to mains gas, then click here to learn more on the benefits of Biomass Boilers over Oil or LPG.
By using mains gas to produce onsite heat and electricity, a facility can reduce its costs associated with traditional grid supplied electricity. The savings realised by this can bring paybacks on a CHP Generator in 2-3 years depending on the application and ease of integration.
CHP units are highly space efficient and with their weather proof containers, can be sited outside if needed and in most cases don’t require planning permission.
Why is a CHP plant ideal for food manufacturing?
A typical food factory has significant electrical and heat requirements. Therefore when processing, a food manufacturing facility will likely consume 100% of the energy generated by a combined heat and power plant.
Most food factories have extensive run hours, with many operating 24/7. This allows the CHP plant to accumulate savings around the clock. Smeaton Wood Energy would arrange a fully comprehensive maintenance package that would guarantee at least 8,000 capacity run hours per annum. The expected lifespan of a CHP plant running for this amount of hours per annum is at least 10 years. In order to maintain such a long period of sustained performance SWE have partnered with the UK’s most experienced CHP Engine manufacture.
But we don’t use LTHW (Low Temperature Hot Water <90 deg)?
A CHP plant can easily be paired up with an exhaust waste heat boiler to raise steam to whatever temperature or pressure is required. However, the engine’s water jacket generated heat can only go to LTHW and would need to be dumped if not required.
The majority of food manufacturing sites have significant LTHW loads that are current serviced by stepping down steam. Creating LTHW in this way is inefficient. Processes like this include: Pasteurisers, Hot water jackets, Wash down water, Dryers, etc. In these instances we would run the LTHW to the required processes to remove the steam load, but retain the steam supply option as an automatic fail-safe.
Our Capital Expenditure has already been allocated
Smeaton Wood Energy have multiple Zero Capex solutions for all of our technologies, including CHP. Other than straight forward unsecured finance, the most popular zero capex solution is where SWE pay for 100% of the CHP plant installation and integration. This allows the food factory to benefit from instant energy savings with no upfront payment.
SWE will simply bill the client for the electricity used from the Combined Heat and Power plant. The rate charged is pre agreed and linked to inflation (unlike the volatile electricity prices of today). Based on the dairy factory project already mentioned, a fully funded arrangement such as this would net this site a total year 1 saving of £170k and will typically be a 10yr agreement term.
Find out more
Smeaton Wood Energy carry out no cost or obligation feasibility studies for companies wishing to understand the potential of energy saving technologies at their facilities. By removing the cost of the investigation work, firms have nothing to lose by contacting us to discuss their options.