Micro CHP systems ‘have great potential’

Micro CHP and district heating systems could have great potential for the future of London, according to a new report.

A document published by the Greater London Authority (GLA) has said that combined heat and power and district heating infrastructure have been the main reasons behind most of the capital’s emissions reductions in 2010 and should become more prevalent in future years.

These technologies have the greatest potential for future deployment, the review of London’s energy policies added.

In the report, which has been welcomed by the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA), it is revealed that CHP systems accounted for 50% of carbon dioxide savings, with 30% thanks to end-user efficiency and a further 10% from renewable energy.

New micro CHP and CHP projects in the city brought about annual carbon dioxide savings of 36,392 tonnes – equivalent to retrofitting cavity wall in insulation in some 56,500 semi-detached homes.

CHPA director Graham Meeks commented: “This analysis conclusively demonstrates the importance of taking an integrated approach to decarbonising our urban areas.

“Greater use of district heating will allow the UK to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions for more homes and businesses, while enabling the most efficient and effective use of valuable renewable energy supplies.”

Analysis of the potential for decentralised energy published alongside the GLA review shows that up to 27.5% of London’s demand could be provided for in this way in 2031. Compared to centralised renewables, decentralised energy is cheaper with a lower capital cost and saves the most carbon per pound spent.

The report also states that heat networks are required in order to open up the potential for other energy sources, such as surplus heat created by industry, biomass CHP and energy from waste.  It said that without such heat networks, 90% of biomass feedstock reserves could go unused.

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