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TOTEM engine for Combined Heat and Power (CHP).

What is a Micro CHP engine? And How Does CHP work?

Onsite cogeneration of electricity with heat reclaim by Combined Heat and Power, or CHP units, is one of the most effective ways of reducing costs by simultaneously powering and heating a building from a single gas-powered engine.

As gas supply remains on a par with or slightly cheaper than grid-supplied electricity, and because Combined Heat and Power units secure ‘free / waste heat’ as part of that power generation process less gas overall is required for the heating of the building. So there are two opportunities to reduce operational costs.

The micro-CHP form factor that we deploy in the TOTEM series of CHP units was originally conceived and brought to market in the late 1970s. Subsequently, the design has evolved and improved, incorporating the latest engineering practices and expertise from the automotive industry to ensure the design is optimised to meet the real-world needs of a building project.

The TOTEM m-CHP internal combustion engine is a product of the automotive expertise of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA). The continuous development over 50 years, gives the current gas-driven 1.4L Fiat Fire engine an astounding reliability rate of 99.6% over 100,000 units per year.

The Engine Control Unit (ECU), high-efficiency catalytic converter and fine-tuning for the engine’s stationary parameters is provided by Magneti Marelli, a name which will be familiar to fans of Formula One racing. It is the ECU and catalytic converter that which deliver TOTEM’s ultra-low NOₓ and CO emissions. This is particularly important for urban building projects where NOₓ (a combination of NO and NO2) is seen increasingly as a major factor in air pollution which can be extremely harmful to people. As Combined Heat and Power localises energy production, it is critical that the use of the technology addresses and significantly reduces NOₓ generation. NOₓ emissions from a TOTEM unit are less than 40 mg/kWh of electricity output, but once you take the heat output into account, which is considered a waste product, TOTEM becomes effectively NOₓ free.

TOTEM achieves ultra-low emissions rates –  that are less than 10% of most micro-cogeneration units available on the market –  through the close manufacturing relationships, of Fiat, Magneti Marelli, Asja and Adveco which has driven the adoption of micro-CHP in the UK through unique technology and service support. For this work, Adveco has been recently awarded a Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation Leadership Award for developing commercial micro-CHP in Europe.

TOTEM stands out with its complete, highly compact system in a box configuration, a design-driven by the decision to directly couple the engine to the generator, which is capable of delivering electrical outputs from 10 to 50 kW, and then closely integrate the other components, especially the condensing heat exchangers.

A building’s central heating water is heated directly in two stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers and a water to water stainless steel plate heat exchanger transferring heat from the engine coolant (used to cool the engine, oil, and generator water jacket) and from the first stage exhaust. By reclaiming heat from every available source, TOTEM micro CHP units achieve a thermal efficiency of 65% or higher depending on the return water temperature. The TOTEM will condensate when the return water temperature is less than 50°C without the need for an additional flue heat exchanger.

Based on today’s fuel costs electricity output from the co-generator will be at a similar cost to electricity from the grid, however for each kWh of electricity generated approximately 2.5 kWh of free, high-grade heat will be recovered. With ultra-low emissions, micro CHP offers a real option, especially when combined in an application that blends renewables to provide a cost-effective and future-proof method for providing the power and heating needs for commercial projects.

Berry Court care home plant room installation.

The Cogeneration Gap – Part 3 Caring for the Environment

We have considered the reasons for implementing m-CHP in new builds and upgrading care homes. In this third and final blog in the series, we consider one last deciding factor, the environmental impact of local cogeneration…

The carbon savings have long been an advantage of Combined Heat and Power (CHP), and can still be achieved, but that is changing because grid-supplied electricity is getting much cleaner. There has been a strong downward trend in emissions from electricity production since 2014, due to the increases in wind and solar power and the closure of coal-fired power stations. But on average, CHP provides a carbon benefit over the year, though the actual intensity fluctuates both seasonally and daily. On most days where carbon intensity is more than 188g/kWh CHP will provide a benefit. CHP will be carbon advantageous at some times of the day and not at others, but looking at the average carbon intensity of electricity generation from 2013-2017 even in the summer months when demand falls, the carbon intensity never fell below 200g/kWh, so CHP was always beneficial in this period in terms of carbon savings. Carbon intensity of the grid is higher when it is dark and cold, and CHP requires a thermal load to operate so naturally aligns itself with the higher carbon intensity when it provides greatest impact and savings.

In the future smart controls will adapt CHP run times to ensure it operates when it is most carbon advantageous.  For a CHP that runs for 14 hours per day, for example, the smart controls will ensure that the 10 hours when it does not operate align with the clean grid periods and not when the carbon intensity is the highest.

Even so, we recognise that the value of carbon savings with CHP will continue to reduce in comparison to previous years. Instead, attention is now turning to Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) savings. A by-product of the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels, NOX are a major contributing factor to poor air quality, the most toxicologically significant being a combination of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO₂). It can cause lung irritation and respiratory infections as well as being linked to cancer, asthma, strokes, and heart disease. The Royal College of Physicians believes it directly leads to as many as 40,000 deaths each year. This has led to widespread recognition that more needs to be done to address NOX emissions and the care sector needs to be seen to be addressing emissions that are a by-product of its activities.

Although all CHP with a catalytic converter is cleaner than the grid, taking in to account electrical efficiency, the wider CHP industry, as an average, has the same NOx emissions as large scale power generation. The downside for CHP has been that carbon-based power generation historically was located outside of major urban areas, but the drive for low carbon buildings is bringing even more potential emissions into our cities. Most CHP are likely to have a slight positive impact on air quality nationwide, but because those installations will typically be in urban/residential areas that CHP will have a negative impact.

Therefore, localised NOX emissions from ‘dirty’ cogeneration is becoming a concern. Where CHP is used to offset condensing boiler run hours, if the CHP is dirtier than the condensing boiler then the local emissions are worsened. Despite air pollution and NOX mainly arising from road traffic – half of current NO­X pollution in major urban areas is attributed to vehicles – emissions from decentralised energy production are now being seen as a contributing factor. It is therefore of great importance that the NOX emissions from new CHP units are lower than condensing boilers if they are to have a positive effect.

Our own assessment of cited NO­X emissions from CHP manufacturers shows wildly fluctuating numbers, ranging from 64 mg/kWh to a highly concerning 596 mg/kwh, and older units were far worse. Consider the 2018 EcoDesign limit for CHP is 240mg/kWh! And I would argue that this number is now far too high given the changing attitude to, and awareness of the dangers of NO­X emissions.

Despite heat recovered by the CHP being considered NOX neutral, it is vitally important to recognise that there is a considerable difference between ‘dirty’ CHP and the latest generation of low-NO X CHP. One such class of low-NO X appliance are the micro or m-CHP units, where we can cite emissions levels as low as 11mg/kWh. For a unit of 20kW electrical output, with a gas input of 70kW, in a situation with an average annual run time of 6,500 hours for a standard application such as a care home, the yearly NOX emission from a ’dirty’ CHP will be 109.2kg/year, compared to 4.55kg/year for the latest generation of m-CHP. And remember, this option is also improving local air quality because the m-CHP is used to offset the run hours of a condensing boiler which at emissions over 30 mg/kWh is dirty compared to the CHP.

Conclusion

Comparing CHP with other local energy generation technologies, today we can still show that it has lower running costs than a heat pump, plus has both higher savings and an easier install than PV. Without doubt, a CHP can provide useful energy cost savings for a building, so it always makes sense to run existing CHP, and makes sense to purchase for the right type of building.

Mid to high occupancy residential care homes are particularly apt and upgrading to CHP in these facilities will provide a good payback period and be a solid investment over the decade, so long as a guaranteed maintenance schedule is put in place.

Finally, selecting the right CHP can provide carbon savings and more importantly, as we look to the future, can help improve local air quality for a building.

At the end of the day, the building and its use should drive the decision making, but for the care home, perhaps the greatest advantage of all is the assurance that residents will have a continuity of comfort through the provision of heating and hot water. It is in this role that m-CHP delivers a business-critical need in the care home environment.

Micro-CHP and The Urban Balancing Act.

Micro-CHP and The Urban Balancing Act

Adveco expert Bill Sinclair, Technical DirectorAdveco’s Technical Director, Bill Sinclair, discusses balancing concerns over the cost to health from NOX emissions with the advantages of using micro-CHP in urban commercial building projects.

A by-product of the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels, Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) are a major contributing factor to poor air quality, the most toxicologically significant being a combination of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO₂). It can cause lung irritation and respiratory infections as well as being linked to cancer, asthma, strokes, and heart disease. The Royal College of Physicians believes it directly leads to as many as 40,000 deaths each year with an estimated cost of £20 billion to the country in healthcare and lost working days. This has led to widespread recognition that more needs to be done to address NOX emissions with attention more than ever-shifting to encompass the production of emissions from the built environment.

With a greater emphasis on renewables to make our cities more self-sufficient and resilient in terms of meeting energy needs, low carbon electricity’s share of generation has currently risen to a record 50.1% across the UK with (33.4% of which is generated by renewables). But, as old power plants go offline and are replaced by unpredictable supplies like solar and wind, combined heat and power (CHP) becomes increasingly advantageous. Able to reduce a building’s reliance on the grid, yet when demand is high such as when it is cold and dark, provide a more reliable power source, CHP also has the added benefit of providing high-grade heat at lower cost in conditions where a heat pump coefficient of performance falls and the energy cost increases beyond that of gas.

Although all CHP with a catalytic converter is cleaner than the grid, localised NOX emissions from ‘dirty’ cogeneration should be a concern. Where CHP is used to offset condensing boiler run hours, if the CHP is dirtier than the condensing boiler then the local emissions are worsened. Despite air pollution and NOX mainly arising from road traffic – half of the current NO­X pollution in London is attributed to vehicles – emissions from decentralised energy production are now being seen as a contributing factor. It is therefore of great importance that the NOX emissions from new CHP units within built-up areas are lower than condensing boilers if they are to have a positive effect.

Setting a new threshold for emissions

Micro-CHP (Combined Heat and Power) in urban commercial building projects.The 2018 EcoDesign directive sets a NOX emission limit for CHP units at 240mg/kWh. This threshold, despite being approximately equal to emissions that would result from producing heat from a boiler and consuming electricity from conventional power plants, is too lenient. Air quality has been a critical driver in the revisions within the London Plan which now treats CHP with a lot less enthusiasm – although still accepting that there remains a strategic case for CHP systems as long as the NOx emissions are equivalent or lower than those of ultra-low NOx gas boilers.

The cogeneration industry has not been sitting on its laurels, and a new generation of ‘clean’ CHP brings all the advantages of onsite, on-demand cogeneration, and exceeds the London Plan’s expectations of ‘very low levels’ of NOX, meeting Euro 6 standards for emissions. More compact and much cleaner, micro-CHP units (in accordance with EU standards at 50kW or less rated electrical power) are available with far lower emission rates. This is the case for the TOTEM m-CHP, for example, which is independently certified at just 10mg/kWh.

If we compare a CHP meeting the 2018 EcoDesign limit of 240mg/kWh to that of a TOTEM m-CHP, we can demonstrate the real difference in the latest generation of CHP. Using a unit of 20kW electrical output, a gas input of 70kW, in a situation with an average annual run time of 6,500 hours for a standard application such as a hotel or apartment block, the yearly NOX emission from a ’dirty’ CHP will be 109.2kg/year, compared to 4.55kg/year for Adveco’s TOTEM. And remember, this option is also improving local air quality because the m-CHP is used to offset the run hours of a condensing boiler which at emissions over 30 mg/kWh is dirty compared to the CHP.

Hybrid futures

There will always be projects where in certain circumstances m-CHP will have a place and other renewables are closed out due to limitations of either the site or the technology. By the same token, we would never advocate m-CHP for every building. As is so often the case in the commercial world, each project will have its specific requirements, requiring a more bespoke approach to the provision of hot water, heating and power generation.

Increasingly we hear from consultants who are struggling to pass any kind of gas or gas CHP based heating system because of the issues around NOₓ emissions, despite the advantage of the high-grade heat necessary to meet the needs of commercial projects. Simply opting for heat pumps, providing a lower grade of heat, isn’t a practical alternative. One answer then is to use a combination of two or three technologies to provide a high heat, low cost, low NOₓ system.

This is particularly relevant to large buildings where a heat pump alone is simply not suitable. These projects need an additional, high-grade source of heat. Now, that essentially takes you to gas, but if the building is big enough, after the heat pump, but before the gas, can sit m-CHP to provide low NOₓ and very low running costs.

We can also make a case for using Combined Heat and Power in existing buildings which already have gas boilers and do not have the electrical supply needed to utilise a heat pump. Again, it does not make sense to fit just a heat pump. But we do not want to use CHP to offset low-temperature heat pumps, it has to sit after a heat pump, offsetting the gas heater. Such an approach will still offer some carbon savings, definitely cost savings and, if that CHP is a low NOₓ appliance when compared to the boiler, then we also have NOₓ saving. At worst such a system is going to be carbon neutral, but cost and NOₓ effective.

The move towards all-electric in smaller buildings also reopens the door for solar thermal with better payback case and better carbon savings. Used in conjunction with low-temperature ASHPs in an arrangement to ensure that it offsets the high-grade source, it offers an alternate hybrid approach that does not require CHP. But we believe gas-fired m-CHP will continue to play a necessary role as part of many hybrid systems, achieving effective water temperatures for commercial applications whilst balancing running costs and savings.

As with any project, design what is best for the building. We would never advocate ignoring the risk of increasing air pollution locally with ‘dirty’ CHP systems, so if Combined Heat and Power is the best fit for your project’s needs then it is vital to choose the lowest NOX emitting equipment available. Right now, the Mayor of London is supporting the city’s Cleaner Heat Cashback scheme for SMEs, proposing scrapping of old gas boilers and replacing them with a variety of options including new efficient gas boilers. If we can demonstrate that m-CHP, either standalone or in a hybrid system, can offset condensing boiler run hours and make emissions cleaner then there is surely a place for the technology, even in the centre of our busiest cities.

Discover more about TOTEM m-CHP 

Download the TOTEM m-CHP brochure

Adveco 2020 Product Overview Now Available

The 2020 Adveco Product Range brochure serves as a quick reference document covering a wide range of products and services provided by Adveco and A.O. Smith. The current range incorporates commercial hot water and heating equipment including: condensing gas water heaters; storage tanks, oil & electric water heaters; solar thermal; boiler cascade systems; stainless steel cylinders, thermal storage tanks, carbon steel buffers, combined heat & power (CHP); Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP). These technologies are the building blocks for Adveco’s bespoke packaged plant rooms and system offerings. All supported by our applications and field engineers who provide expert commission services, warranty maintenance and training.

If you are seeking support in the design, supply, commissioning or servicing of business-critical hot water, heating and power then this brochure is a useful tool to have to hand.

You can download the brochure now.

Adveco’s HR001 Heat Recovery Unit has been named as a finalist in the commercial HVAC product of the year category of the 2020 Heating & Ventilation News Awards.

Adveco Named 2020 H&V News Awards Finalist

Commercial hot water and heating specialist, Adveco’s HR001 Heat Recovery Unit has been named as a finalist in the commercial HVAC product of the year category of the 2020 Heating & Ventilation News Awards.

The HR001 connects between fridge and freezer condenser units and a hot water installation. Perfect for commercial organisations that make use of large chiller or refrigeration technology as part of their day to day operations, such as restaurants and large-scale catering facilities in hotels, schools or universities and retailers holding frozen stock. The HR001 utilises the waste heat generated by the compressor to indirectly pre-heat the incoming mains within a hot water installation and is capable of achieving temperatures as high as 50°C.

HR001 Heat Recovery Unit.

David O’Sullivan, managing director, Adveco, said:

“To have our expertise in commercial heating recognised in this way is a win for the entire Adveco family which has worked so hard to make the HR001 Heat Recovery Unit a success. It is a terrific confirmation of the quality of products Adveco prides itself on bringing to UK commercial heating and hot water projects.

The HR001 Heat Recovery Unit is a key component for many of the bespoke applications we create for our customers, applications that almost everyone in the UK will interact with or benefit from during their lives, from washing hands in a school or restaurant, showering in a hotel, to being warm on a hospital ward.”

Comparing both gas and electric system installations of the HR001 demonstrate weekly heat recovery averaging at 155 kWh/wk per site. Customers therefore not only save money by recovering ‘free’ heat, but this saved energy means less overall power demands and reduced emissions across all sites.

HVR Awards finalist - sustainable product of the year: Heat recovery unit and commercial heating product of the year: MD boiler range.

Adveco named finalist in the 10th Anniversary Heating & Ventilation Review Awards

  • HR001 Heat Recovery Unit named finalist in Sustainable Product of the Year
  • MD Boiler Range named finalist in Commercial Heating Product of the Year

Adveco is proud to announce it has been named finalist in two categories in this, the tenth anniversary of the Heating & Ventilation Review (HVR) Awards.

The HVR Awards celebrate the products, brands, businesses and people that have led the way with their innovation and unrivalled levels of excellence, inducting them into the prestigious HVR Awards ‘Hall of Flame’.

Named finalist in the Sustainable Product of the Year category, the Adveco HR001 is a standalone Heat Recovery Unit providing a convenient, packaged unit to recover refrigerant system waste heat.

HR001 Heat Recovery UnitPerfect for commercial organisations that make use of large chiller or refrigeration technology as part of their day to day operations, such as restaurants and large scale catering facilities in hotels, schools or universities, and retailers holding frozen stock, the HR001 connects between fridge and freezer condenser units and a hot water installation. The HR001 utilises the waste heat generated by the compressor to indirectly pre-heat the incoming mains within a hot water installation and is capable of achieving temperatures as high as 50°C.

In the Commercial/Industrial Heating Product of the Year category, Adveco’s MD Boiler range, powered by Cosmogas, has also been named as a finalist.

The Adveco MD range of high-efficiency floor-standing condensing gas boilers units has been designed for commercial applications requiring consistent, very efficient and low emission heating for business-critical projects.

The range is composed of four boilers, with heat inputs from 70 to 280 kW and offers a heating temperature range of 20 – 80°C and is suitable for use with system pressures designed to provide a high capacity, reliable response to a building’s central heating demand.

Perfect for refurbishment of existing gas boiler systems where space is limited, the MD is also a core element of Adveco’s bespoke hybrid offerings to provide sustainable heating systems that can deliver the operational responsiveness required by larger-scale commercial systems.MD Boiler range

Adveco supplies MD boilers across a range of commercial sectors including hotels and leisure centres, restaurants, care estates, education estates, light industrial and government organisation facilities.

“As a proudly independent UK business with almost 50 years of heritage in the design, supply and servicing of business-critical systems we are extremely pleased to be recognised as finalists in this, the tenth anniversary year of the HVR Awards,”

said David O’Sullivan, managing director, Adveco.

“To have our expertise in sustainable systems for commercial heating highlighted in two awards feels like a win already. It’s a testament to our expert team who work so closely with our partners and customers to create and deliver bespoke applications for modern commercial operations. The MD boiler range and HR001 Heat Recovery Unit are both prime examples of this fantastic work.”

See all the 2019 finalists here.

 

Adveco Introduces Compact, Standalone Heat Recovery Unit For Commercial Projects

• Designed to recover waste heat from refrigerant systems typically used by restaurants and hotels
• Works with both gas and electric systems
• Reduces overall power demands for lower operational costs and reduced building emissions

Hot water and heating specialist Adveco, introduces the HR001, a standalone Heat Recovery Unit providing a convenient, packaged unit to recover refrigerant system waste heat. Perfect for restaurants and hotels, connecting between fridge and freezer condenser units and a hot water installation, the HR001 utilises the waste heat generated by the compressor.

Indirectly pre-heating the incoming mains within a hot water installation, it is capable of achieving temperatures as high as 50°C.

Each unit contains two independent heat recovery circuits, inclusive of plate heat exchangers, glycol pumps, a temperature differential controller, expansion vessel, pressure relief and isolation valves.

All components are pre-wired and installed within a grey IP rated housing with mounting brackets, allowing quick and straightforward installation. The HR001 connects directly to Adveco’s control panels for seamless integration into a water heating installation.

Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco, says, “A comprehensive series of customer tests on the HROO1 comparing both gas and electric systems shows weekly heat recovery averaging at 155 kWh/wk per site. Customers therefore not only save money by recovering ‘free’ heat, but this saved energy means less overall power demands and reduced emissions across all sites.”

Technical Information

• Dual Fridge and Freezer Heat Recovery Circuits
• Supply 230V/1ph/50Hz
• Capacity 3kW per circuit
• Full Load Current 0.5A
• Fluid 1 Refrigerant R404A
• Fluid 2 Tycofor L
• Safety Valve 6 bar
• Expansion Vessel 2L
• Protection IP55
• Weight 35kg
• Refrigerant Pipe Diameter (in) 1/2″
• Water Pipe Diameter (mm) 15mm
• Dimensions HxWxD (mm) 800 x 600 x 300

Read more about the Adveco HR001 Heat Recovery Unit