Combined Heat and Power

What is Combined Heat and Power?


Combined Heat and Power (CHP) – A fully maintained system producing sustainable cost-effective electricity and heat to benefit your business.

Combined Heat and Power units are ideal for businesses which have a high and consistent energy demand. Both heat and electricity from a CHP unit will significantly reduce your business’s utility bills. CHP units have proven very successful in a range of sectors from leisure and industry, to forestry and agriculture.

Ecovision Commercial ntrade-E3-Combined-Heat-and-Power-system

How Does Combined Heat and Power Work?

Heat and electricity are produced from fuels, such as sustainable biomass wood pellets, through a process called gasification. In this case, the pellets are converted in to a gas (Syngas), which fuels a generator to produce electricity. The combustion of this gas creates heat, which is transferred into water that can be used at your business.

Combined Heat and Power units are easily connected to existing electricity and heating systems on-site with very little disruption to your business. The electricity generated can be used on site as it is being produced, or exported back to the grid at a wholesale rate.

There are two main types of Combined Heat and Power,

  • Biomass Combined Heat and Power and
  • Gas Combined Heat and Power

A Gas CHP unit generally has a lower upfront cost and will reduce a business’ running costs for the life of the unit. However a Biomass CHP unit will not only reduce running costs but also qualifies for two government payments, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for all heat produced and used on site and Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for all electricity produced on site. These incentives will also provide you with an income stream, guaranteed by the UK government, worth an estimated £1 million over 20 years.

How Does Combined Heat and Power Work?

– E3 Example


1. Gasification.
Wood pellets are fed into the gasifier and undergo a 4 stage chemical process of Drying -> Pyrolysis -> Oxidation -> Reduction. The resultant, energy rich “syngas” leaves the reactor at approximately 800oC.

2. Gas cooler

This superheated syngas is then passed through a cooling unit where the heat is transferred to a water circuit. This recovered heat represents 24% of the total heat generated by the E3 system.

3. Gas Filter

The cooled gas is then filtered to remove any ash. The gas is filtered for a second time to ensure that very high quality syngas is feed into the engine unit.


4. CHP Engine

The syngas is then combusted in a modified General Motors, 4.3L lorry engine. The engine runs a generator which generates a constant 25kW of electricity. The engine is also gives off heat, which is captured and transferred into the water circuit. This recovered heat represents 76% of the total heat generated by the E3 system.

5. Heat exchanger

The heat generated from the gas cooling process and the CHP engine is then passed through a heat exchanger and transferred into your heat distribution network.

E3 Technical Diagram


1. Gasifier

2. Gas Cooler

3. Gas Filter

4. CHP Engine

5. Heat Exchanger

Ecovision Commercial ntrade-E3-Combined-Heat-and-Power-system


How long will a Combined Heat and Power unit take to install?

Ecovision’s containerised CHP units, such as the E3, can be installed in a week. They are supplementary, “bolt on” systems and therefore require only minor alterations to your existing plant room. The time you will be without heating and hot water will also be minimal.

How do I tell if Combined Heat and Power is right for me?

All buildings are individual and so are their heating requirements. A 10-15 minute telephone consultation with one of Ecovision’s trained team will determine which technology is best suited to your property.

Do I need to coordinate any other trades on site?

No, Ecovision will undertake the entire installation, providing the complete design, supply, installation and commissioning of the system, without any need for third parties or subcontractors.

Does Combined Heat and Power represent a good value investment?

Yes, most definitely! With paybacks of under 4 years (on Oil/LPG) and under 6 years (on mains gas), CHP represents the best financial investment of any Renewable Energy system since the FIT and RHI subsidies were introduced in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

Will Combined Heat and Power replace all of my heat and power systems on site?

A Combined Heat and Power unit will not replace your existing systems but will instead complement them.

Do I need planning permission to install a Combined Heat and Power unit?

Yes, all containerised CHP installations require planning permission. Ecovision can take care of the full planning process, ensuring the project timescales will not be effected.

What is the difference between a Biomass CHP and a traditional Biomass Boiler?

Biomass boilers only create heat and will replace the existing heating system. Biomass CHP creates both heat and electricity from the same wood fuel and will supplement, rather than replace the existing heating system.

Is Biomass CHP proven?

Although relatively new to the UK, Biomass CHP has been available across Europe for a number of years. The component parts which make up a CHP system are all well-established technologies with many decades of engineering improvement.

How stable is the pellet fuel market?

The biomass industry is now well established market in the UK and there are many biofuels companies providing a consistent supply of quality wood fuel. The market is growing every day, increasing competition and therefore value.