This is a guest article from Paddy Thompson, General Manager Business Development, Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd, on the benefits of micro combined heat and power (CHP) systems for UK SMEs.
A group of companies (Baxi, Calor, Ceramic Fuel Cells, E.ON, IE-CHP and Flow Energy) in the micro combined heat and power (micro CHP) sector in the UK has published a report setting out a bold strategic vision for the role of micro CHP as a key component of an emerging smarter energy environment. Micro CHP is a versatile innovation with unique characteristics that has the potential to revolutionalise the way householders and SMEs generate and use energy.
Micro CHP is a low carbon solution that utilises gas efficiently to generate heat and electricity on-site. It presages a transformation of the UK’s energy system by empowering consumers and altering the way in which they use and generate energy. As the most cost effective way of utilising gas to generate energy at the domestic level, micro CHP generates significant reductions in fuel bills and CO2 emissions compared to A-rated condensing boilers.
Micro CHP can serve as a simple means of readily upgrading the existing stock of residential gas boilers and can integrate with legacy high-temperature heating systems (e.g. radiators, pumps). The technology is also uniquely placed to operate in a modular fashion in a shared environment, benefiting from economies of scale or in combination with other low carbon heating solutions, such as electric heat pumps.
Several complementary micro CHP products with diverse specifications are either already available, or close to commercialisation, with hundreds of installations in the UK already. Micro CHP applications make particular sense in the SME sector. Given high energy prices – particularly rising electricity bills – small office buildings and shops could use the installation of micro CHP units to reduce dependence on the grid for electricity supply, particularly during peak demand periods, and take control of their energy generation. They would also benefit from feed-in tariff support of 12.89p/kWh for all electricity generated and an additional 4.64p/kWh for electricity exported to the grid.
Micro CHP - engaging SMEs and householders in their energy use