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5 steps for effective CHP maintenance

Maximise performance and cost savings with these 5 steps to maintain your CHP system.

So, you’ve installed a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system, or are considering deploying one. You’re looking forward to reduced costs, improved efficiency and a future-proof energy strategy. But have you considered the long-term performance of your CHP system?

There are plenty of ways you can take care of your CHP, helping it to produce the best results for your business. We’ve outlined five maintenance steps you could take to make sure that your CHP is performing at its very best.

1. Consider O&M in the design phase

Plan for long-term success

Maintenance starts right from the very beginning of your CHP system’s lifecycle. At the design stage, regular access for services and repair should be a crucial part of any plan.

You could consider scheduling set maintenance downtime – ideally when energy demand is low. We’d recommend major engine overhauls when heat demand is lower than normal, such as in the summer months. Alternatively, you could plan this to coincide with maintenance for other specialist equipment, such as boiler inspections.

Not only can regular maintenance quickly repair any issues that may occur, but it can help your CHP to operate at its best. CHPs running at part load often operate at reduced efficiency. Frequent maintenance means that you can check the performance of your system – so by ensuring your CHP is always operating as intended, you can improve its cost efficiency. With maintenance planned from the outset, you’ll know that your system is always running at its best – and that it’s producing the best possible results for your business.


Plan for long-term cost control

It's also important to factor in lifetime maintenance costs from the outset. Accounting for this means that you can more accurately assess the economic feasibility of your CHP project. This can help you to define your likely return on investment – and predict your costs in the long term. In the face of unpredictable overheads, securing control of your energy in this way can help you to manage your budget.

As a leading CHP provider with nationwide engineer fleets, we offer a range of high-quality O&M packages. We provide maintenance on solutions we’ve installed, and can also offer support on alternative engines on request. Whether you’re looking for long-term maintenance or to bundle O&M with flexible financing, we can provide complete care for your solution throughout its lifetime.

2. Assess performance and prevent problems with remote monitoring

Gain full visibility and control of your CHP

Continuous monitoring is the backbone of any maintenance strategy - and you can do this remotely and at low cost. Fitting your CHP system with instrumentation and metering means that you can track system parameters in real-time. These could include:

  • Temperatures
  • Pressures and flow rates
  • Fuel consumption
  • Electricity output
  • Heat supplied to site and hours of operation

Having a 24/7 monitoring system for your CHP is critical. It can help you to instantly identify any performance issues, enabling repairs before they worsen. Our in-house energy management software, PowerRadar™, could be your answer to this.

PowerRadar is an onboard communications system which sends live parameters to our 24/7 control centre, as well as to your own devices. It provides total visibility of how your CHP system is performing, all in one single view.

Through PowerRadar, you can visualise and track the performance of your CHP system. If there’s a change in unit state, it can notify you or us – and it can remotely diagnose over 200 faults. With this insight, you can adjust your CHP’s operations and diagnose potential issues. Ultimately, this can help you to reduce the lifetime costs of caring for your CHP system.

Stay on top of your CHPQA compliance reporting

If you’re aiming to meet the requirements of Good Quality under the CHP Quality Assurance (CHPQA) programme, you’ll need to demonstrate this through monitoring. Through PowerRadar, we can support the CHPQA assessment process – and even generate CHPQA compliance reports – helping you to stay in touch with the information you need.

Optimise your energy efficiency and performance

Learn how to take control of your energy strategy with PowerRadar

Watch our video to discover how PowerRadar enables organisations to understand, manage, and optimise their energy estate – providing them with the intelligence they need to power their energy strategy.

3. Bundle maintenance with flexible financing

As your CHP project progresses, you may be considering funding with flexible financing. If you choose to partner with Centrica Business Solutions, we can bundle this with O&M - so we’ll look after your asset throughout its lifetime.

For example, our Discount Energy Purchase package covers supply, installation and lifetime O&M - with zero upfront capital cost. To ensure fairness, we link our O&M service fees to power performance levels.

Throughout the DEP contract, we recover our investment by charging a discounted rate for the power your system generates. After accounting for increased gas usage, this rate is typically set lower than grid supplied electricity. And on top of this, the heat generated by your CHP system is supplied to you free of charge. So, by bringing your energy generation onsite, you'll be able to secure a long-term, cost-efficient heat and power strategy.

By including O&M in your flexible financing package, you’ll be protecting your organisation for the long term. It’ll reduce your asset performance risk – and you can rest assured knowing we’ll manage every aspect of your CHP’s lifetime to a high standard.

4. Choose the right service package for your organisation

To achieve its performance guarantees, it's key to service your CHP in line with the manufacturer's instructions. Whether your CHP was built by us or a third party, you should receive the information you need to stay on top of your system’s service requirements.

Once you know how to take care of your CHP system, you’ll need to choose an O&M plan that meets all its needs. Routine services should be carried out by trained CHP engineers, and typically include:

  • Inspection and replacement of spark plugs
  • Changing/sampling engine oil, including safe waste oil disposal
  • Replacing oil/air filters
  • Engine calibrations, adjusting valve settings
  • Battery condition checks
  • Checking emissions testing set-up

On top of routine services, your O&M package should include:

  • Equipment repairs
  • Remote performance monitoring and fault diagnosis
  • Guarantees on CHP availability of operation 

If you choose to partner with us for your CHP O&M, you’ll know your CHP is in safe hands. We have over 35 years of experience in operations and maintenance, and the UK’s largest fleet of O&M technicians – so you can rest assured we know what we’re doing.

Find out how our Combined Heat and Power (CHP) solutions could work for your organisation

5. Choose a provider who can do it all

Centrica Business Solutions' packages provide over 1,700 organisations with flexible, local O&M support. We have hundreds of engineers located across the UK, Ireland and Europe, and our CHP Support Service Desk is available 24/7, 365 days a year. And with over £1m in spare parts available for next-day delivery, we’re always on hand to support you.

We provide three CHP service plans, depending on the level of care you’re looking for. All our plans include 24/7 remote monitoring and access to our dedicated support desk. And if needed, we can work with you on bespoke packages to meet the unique needs of your organisation.

To summarise, here’s what you should look for when taking care of your CHP system:

  • Periodic inspection and servicing should be carried out by trained engineers
  • The performance and condition of your CHP system should monitored round-the-clock
  • Your remote monitoring technology should be capable of real-time fault diagnosis
  • Consider bundling operations and maintenance with flexible financing
  • Your CHP supplier should have the knowledge and experience needed to offer you the best aftercare service

To find out more about how this could work for your organisation, read more about our CHP O&M packages or speak to one of our experts.

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