17: What are CHP units?
A CHP (Combined Heat and Power) unit generates electrical power and heat from a single energy source.
There are three primary components within a CHP unit, starting with the Prime Mover, (usually a reciprocating engine) that creates the motive power to drive the Electrical Generator. The final component is the Heat Recovery system, which comprises of single or multiple heat exchangers installed on key areas of the engine, to recover waste heat produced as a bye-product.
In an engine powered CHP unit, around 30% of the fuel used gets converted to electrical power. At the same time, around 50% of the fuel energy gets converted to heat. Without heat recovery, this valuable and highly usable energy stream would be lost to the atmosphere, wasting around half the cost of all fuel used to power the generator. By recovering this heat energy, the generating sets overall efficiency is improved to around 80% – even more in some installations – making CHP a highly efficient energy solution.
Recovered heat can be used for a wide range of domestic, commercial or industrial uses, including space heating and hot water, process heating, as well as cooling, or even generating more power!
Heat can be recovered from the engines exhaust stream, plus its cooling, lubrication and induction systems, using heat exchangers.
Bowman manufacture a comprehensive range of CHP heat recovery heat exchangers for exhaust gas, engine and induction cooling. For more information on Bowman CHP heat exchangers