Across the UK centralised fossil fuel power generation releases a vast amount of generated heat as a by-product, wasting energy in its production. Durham University estimated that 88.8% (391,000 GWh) of the UK’s energy waste comes from power generation. Instead of dumping this wasted heat, we could use it to heat our homes, hospitals, and schools.
Heat networks offer an opportunity to reduce dependence on non-renewable fuels, improve building operation cost and ensure security for national energy supply. Wasted heat can be harnessed from power stations, waste incineration and industrial processes and used as the main source of heat for heat networks.
Combined heat and power (CHP) plants offer buildings the ability to generate electricity whilst using wasted heat for their own heat networks. Established in 1996, EC Power is the market leader and most technologically advanced European producer of CHP units. Over 10,000 CHP units have already been supplied to 27 European countries, while their 20 patents are testament to the company’s unique innovative strength. Using a modified industrial Toyota engine, the XRGI LoadTracker CHP can modulate its electrical output to meet both site demands and market price signals from the grid.
NHS MacKinnon House serves as an adult inpatient mental health unit at the Stobhill Campus for the residents of Greater Glasgow and Clyde. By using the XRGI 20G LoadTracker Pocket CHP the NHS has significantly reduced MacKinnon House’s annual energy costs while reducing the CO2 emissions across the site. As of September 2021, the unit has been in operation for 6298 hours, equivalent to 72% of potential running time for the year. The site’s grid electricity usage has been reduced by 125,377 kWh while CO2 emissions reduced by 35 tonnes (SAP12) compared to centralised power generation. Decarbonization of the gas energy source will further reduce the sites carbon footprint.
Utilisation of this valuable by-product via heat networks is fundamental to both the UK’s decarbonization efforts and our ability to deliver energy at a reasonable cost. Lower carbon, lower cost and better security mean all three elements of the Energy Trilemma can be achieved through CHP powered heat networks.