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5 ways to maximize CHP benefits

Make the most of your Combined Heat and Power (CHP) with these essential tips.

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is increasingly and consistently recognized for some of the great benefits it can deliver. Not just for the user, but for the environment too. Get the most from your CHP and maximize your return on investment (ROI) by following these five essential insights.

Maximize CHP benefits by sizing the system correctly

Identify the goals you’re looking to achieve in the CHP project specification and define the CHP size you need to support those objectives. When it comes to CHP, size matters because:

  • Undersized CHP will fail to operate at maximum output, and additional energy and emissions savings will be missed.
  • Oversized CHP will operate below its full output rating and at a lower efficiency, meaning potential savings and financial incentives will be overlooked.

Identify the profile of a site’s energy consumption including its minimum and maximum demands. Also consider any seasonal variations. This will help you to determine the correct size.  Keep in mind any future changes you may want to make to the site’s energy demands. For maximum energy savings, reduction in emissions and ROI across the system’s lifetime, you need to cater to the site’s requirements now and in the future.

Set end goals

Set end goals for ROI

CHP systems will have associated capital costs, as will the site installation work required to integrate the CHP system into the existing or new site infrastructure.

Remember, energy efficient technologies with low capital may not always be the most cost-effective solution in the long term. This can be due to higher maintenance cost. CHP systems are known to deliver significant payback, achievable within 3-5 years.

Calculate all anticipated life cycle costs at an early stage in the project so that you understand the project viability and payback. Costs should be monitored and reported as the project progresses so that any change to the ROI can be flagged and actions taken where necessary.

Include all objectives

In addition to ROI, there are other benefits and objectives that are important, including:

  • Emissions performance
  • System reliability
  • Improved operating performance and efficiencies

CHP can be used to achieve these objectives; however, they should be clearly defined in the project specification to inform selection and design.

Focus on efficiency to achieve financial rewards

To maximize ROI, CHP must operate at high efficiency. CHP systems that utilize a high proportion of the heat generated can be eligible for incentives and funding.

You can use the EPA’s dCHPP database to search for CHP policies and incentives by state or at the federal level to see what incentives or policies might be applicable for your site.

Being able to demonstrate that the CHP meets specified criteria via annual performance reports can be key to maximize these incentives. Performance monitoring can be required to obtain the necessary data for annual performance reports and should be part of the CHP maintenance regime.

Do not neglect preventative maintenance

Don’t neglect preventative maintenance

Plan for maintenance right from the start of the project. By doing so, everyone understands the expectations of the CHP system, especially the associated costs involved. Systems must be periodically inspected and routine servings should be carried out at regular intervals.

Performance monitoring and preventative maintenance are fundamental to optimized CHP operation. Remote monitoring is also essential so that any problems are highlighted and rectified as soon as possible, minimizing overall CHP downtime.

Selecting the right maintenance regime is crucial for the reliable, long-term efficiency of a CHP project, providing system longevity and maximum ROI.

Key takeaways

  • The expectations and objectives of a CHP project need to be fully defined and specified early in the project.
  • CHP needs to be correctly sized to be fully utilized and operate at high efficiency.
  • Evaluate all costs at all projects stages to ensure maximum ROI.
  • Good quality CHP can help to access key financial incentives at state or federal level; be sure to support your application with data from remote monitoring.
  • Ensure the right maintenance regime is in place for your CHP project.

Learn more about the benefits of CHP for your business.