Although the principle of CHP is relatively straightforward, the development process for any given CHP installation consists of a number of separate steps. These steps are covered by three key groups initial consideration, project feasibility and implementation
. Each step is an essential component of the whole development procedure and must be competently and thoroughly undertaken if the project is to be successfully designed and installed, and then operated effectively throughout its lifespan.
The development process requires a significant commitment in terms of time and special and multidiscipline expertise, thereby incurring both cost and effort. Proper management of the process is important if the proposed CHP plant is to maximise the potential benefits to the company. The instigator and manager of the development procedure will need to ensure that the necessary managerial skills are made available and applied effectively.
For a site to support a successful CHP installation, it will typically need to meet certain initial criteria:
- There should normally be heat and power requirements for at least 4,500 hours/year, although CHP can sometimes be cost-effective with fewer operating hours. In general, the greater the annual period of demand, the higher the potential cost savings.
- Future requirements for heat and power should be anticipated, preferably over the lifetime of the CHP plant.
- The company must be able to make the long-term commitment that is associated with a CHP installation.
These criteria apply to both existing and new-build sites.
Any new industrial or commercial development can gain substantially by incorporating CHP as an integral part of the energy supply arrangements rather than installing it as a retrofit option at a later date:
- The design and development team will be able to plan the production and utility systems as a single operation.
- The disruption incurred during retrofit installations is avoided.
- There is less likelihood of redundant plant than with a retrofit option.
- Site energy supply costs are minimised from Day 1.
- There is enhanced security of energy supply from Day 1
Next: Custom CHP Technology