CHP solution for specialty chemicals company

CHP solution for specialty chemicals company

Innovative CHP solution in specialty chemicals saves £550,000 per year

In this project, our technical experts used their extensive knowledge and experience of industrial heat supply options, including combined heat and power (CHP), to help a speciality chemicals manufacturer assess its heat and power supply options.

Prior to this project, our client sourced the steam it needed to maintain operations at one of its major sites from a neighbouring third-party CHP plant. When this plant closed down, the company made temporary arrangements for its steam requirements using leased boilers. However, this was viewed as an unsatisfactory solution for meeting the company’s long-term heat needs.

We were commissioned to evaluate the full range of heat supply options available to the site.

The company chose Ricardo Energy & Environment for this project because of our unique mix of technical expertise in industrial heat technologies, excellent track record in project appraisal, and unrivalled understanding of energy and climate change policy.

To identify the best solution, our experts first analysed in detail the site’s current and projected heat and power demand, demand profiles and supply prices. They then developed data on the technical characteristics and costs of a range of technology options, and constructed a financial appraisal model. This enabled the team to determine how the options would meet the client’s current and future heat and electricity needs, the impacts they would have on the client’s performance against its climate change agreement targets, and the overall financial and environmental performance of each option.

On the strength of this initial analysis, reciprocating engine and gas turbine CHP solutions were evaluated in greater detail. This included reviewing the technical and financial implications of the client’s site becoming a net exporter of power. Based on this work, an innovative reciprocating engine solution with a fired composite heat recovery boiler was selected, enabling operation in heat-led mode, avoiding the need for power export and maximising the financial return. 


The client is now able to begin the process of procuring a specific heat supply solution that is optimised in terms of technical, financial and environmental performance. The predicted annual cost saving of the installation is £550,000 compared with the site’s current energy spend, giving a payback of around 4 years. 

“Our deep technical knowledge of CHP and unrivalled understanding of UK Government policy landscape enabled us to take account of available technologies and fiscal benefits to identify the most beneficial options. Our recommendation provided the client with the opportunity to reduce energy costs by £520,000 per year, rising to £960,000 when a planned site expansion has been completed.” said Mahmoud Abu-Ebid, Ricardo's Chief Consultant.

Related pages:
Heat decarbonisation
Combined Heat and Power (CHP)
Sustainability case studies
Sustainability for the chemical sector
Sustainability for the food and drink sector
Sustainability for the NHS and healthcare sector