Types of Combined Heat and Power systems
Before deciding which kind of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system will be best for your business, you should consider the options available. You could either use a packaged or a custom CHP system. Each has different benefits and costs for your business.
Packaged Combined Heat and Power systems
Packaged CHP is designed and supplied as complete units that are either connected to or added to a building's existing electrical and heating system. They will often be installed, operated and maintained by an energy services company (ESCO) specialising in CHP. A standard ESCO will usually involve the sale of heat and electricity to your site at lower prices than those offered by utilities.
Packaged CHP units are available in sizes ranging from 50 kilowatt electrical (kWe) to over 1 megawatt electrical (MWe) generating capacity, and include a built-in remote monitoring and control system.
The advantages of using packaged CHP instead of a custom system are that:
- they are complete standard packages ready to be connected to the site's utilities
- they are simple to integrate into your existing utilities
- they involve simple contracting arrangements
- there are few maintenance or operational requirements by your own staff
Packaged CHP will use well known technologies, such as reciprocating internal combustion engines. Fuel cells and micro gas turbines could also be used.
They are usually designed to provide low grade heat in the range of 70-90°C.
Custom Combined Heat and Power systems
Custom CHP is designed to be integrated into your site's utilities and services. Being larger than packaged CHP systems, they are typically between 1 MWe and hundreds of MWe of electrical generating capacity.
The advantages of using custom CHP instead of a packaged system are that:
- they will be specifically designed for your individual business needs
- they are more flexible in terms of fuel selection, temperature and pressure of heat than packaged systems
- you will access the full financial benefits of running the CHP plant