CHP Units – the Segway to net zero

There are a lot of questions around the future of CHPs (combined heat and power) as the UK tries to decarbonise heat and power. The biggest benefit of fitting a CHP unit is the cost saving of generating your own electricity using gas. This is due to the Spark Spread remaining very high which means that the gas price is significantly lower than electricity. Although markets change daily with supply and demand, this spark spread isn’t likely to change in the near future due to increased costs related to upgrading the electrical grid and remaining gas reserves in the UK North Sea.

Decarbonising and lowering emissions

So how do we decarbonise heat with electricity prices so high? The UK is working hard to decarbonise both the electrical and gas grids which means that each year the emissions factors are decreasing. The electricity emissions factors have plummeted over the past few years from 0.462 kgCO2e/kWh in 2015 to 0.233 kgCO2e/kWh in 2020 when gas has stayed relatively stable at around 0.2 kgCO2e/kWh. This is a result of less coal fired power stations and a rapidly growing renewables industry helping to decarbonise the electricity grid. This means that installing a CHP doesn’t have the significant environmental savings it would have had in 2015 but it can still contribute to emissions reductions when sized and used correctly.

CHP unit benefits

Installing a combined heat and power (CHP) unit uses gas to feed a turbine which generates electricity meaning you get electricity for the price of gas. Electricity is generated as well as steam and low temperature hot water which can be used in domestic heating and hot water systems. CHPs are designed to run for approximately 8000 hours per year meaning sites requiring hot water all year round such as hotels, food and drinks manufacturers and district heating schemes will see the greatest benefit from a CHP unit.

Continuing the push to Net Zero

The energy industry knows that CHPs are a stepping stone towards net zero as the savings made from installing a CHP offers businesses the opportunity to invest the extra capital into on site low carbon generation such as heat pumps and solar PV panels. As low carbon consultants, Boxfish are continuously encouraging clients to think about the next step in reducing their energy bills and emissions and know that CHPs are an important stage in the net zero transition.

The Boxfish Way

At Boxfish we use our engineering knowledge to determine which clients would benefit from CHP technology and work with our partners to find the optimum solution for your business. Whether your business is looking to make a capital investment or a longer term financed option, talk to us today about what would be the best solution for you – call us on 0141 226 8525 or drop us an email at hello@weareboxfish.com


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