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How to set CHP KPIs to optimise performance

Improve the lifetime sustainability and performance of your CHP with advice from our blog.

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is an increasingly important asset for many energy users. Investment in this low-carbon, energy-efficient equipment system provides major benefits.

The benefits of optimised CHP

CHP is the simultaneous generation of heat and electrical energy, usually on-site or connected to a local site network. This produces significant energy savings over the use of conventional energy.

Assessing and measuring the operation and performance of your CHP system can be balanced against the associated return on investment.

  • Energy cost savings: 20–30%
  • Increased energy efficiency: 30–35%
  • Reduced carbon emissions: 20%

Improving system resilience and environmental impact are also benefits that you can observe. While the latter can be difficult to benchmark, they are important markers of your corporate social responsibility.

Expect payback periods of between three and five years from your CHP system. To confirm this return on investment, it’s important to monitor your CHP system’s performance and ensure that its operation is sustainable.

Defining and setting achievable performance goals


Define performance targets and goals at the planning stage of your project. These definitions will help to improve the overall design of the system, so you can achieve your expected results. Set achievable targets and consult a specialist CHP supplier for advice on areas including:

  • CHP system availability versus demand
  • Electrical/thermal targets
  • Fuel used
  • System operating temperatures
  • Carbon savings
  • Financial savings

Agree on the values offered by the CHP supplier and ensure they are included in the CHP project specification. This provides a benchmark from which you can regularly assess the CHP system through its lifetime of operation.

Achieving performance goals


Set clear goals at the planning stage to close the gap between design stage performance targets and actual operational performance. This alignment will be confirmed in the commissioning stage. Carrying out preventive maintenance from this point forward will help you to keep the performance gap closed.

To achieve high availability, capacity and improved efficiency, CHP needs to be running at maximum capacity for as long as possible. CHP ‘hours run’ becomes another key performance target. To check this, maintenance providers and their engineers need visibility – a clear picture of how a CHP system is performing.

Monitoring for sustainability


Complete frequent, real-time performance health checks to track that the system is meeting expectations all round, for customers and maintenance providers. Highlight deviations that could affect the CHP’s sustainability by measuring the systems inputs, outputs and system operating temperatures.

Providing evidence that the CHP system is operating at its peak performance requires 24-hour remote monitoring.The latest remote monitoring systems can measure in excess of 200 system parameters. Data can be collected, collated and analysed to provide all the necessary information for performance reports. This will show how efficiently the CHP is working and create the basis for a sustainable lifetime of operation.

Key takeaways:

Managing a CHP system using performance goals means that its operation can be measured and assessed against planned benefits, crucial for delivering the expected ROI.

  • CHP provides significant operational, economic and environmental benefits.
  • Achievable, agreed performance goals need to be defined and set at the design stage and included in the project specification.
  • Proactive maintenance is essential to keeping your operations optimal and your CHP system healthy.
  • Monitoring is key to ensuring high availability CHP, which is a prerequisite for realising the many benefits of CHP operations.
  • An action plan that clearly set outs how monitoring will be used is essential to guaranteeing the optimisation and sustainability of your CHP throughout its lifetime.