As communities in their own right, universities have constant heat and electricity demands throughout the day. These can produce high energy bills and unpredictable maintenance costs. In turn, these can compromise budgets that are usually allocated to core educational needs such as learning facility upgrades and investment in educational materials.
A CHP plant utilises the heat produced in electricity generation to provide hot water rather than releasing it wastefully into the atmosphere as steam. By incorporating Dalkia's onsite CHP technology using gas-fired engines, the university is able to self generate part of its own energy demand, in the form of electricity and heat. This is 40% more efficient than a conventional route to energy generation and, as a result, carbon emissions and energy costs are significantly cut. Due to the way in which a CHP plant works, no energy is lost or wasted.
The university first made use of CHP generation in 2001 and has since invested more than £4 million in developing CHP energy together with the extensive district heating network. The university now boasts three 1400 kWe CHP units and one 400kWe CHP unit.
At the university, the system supplies hot water to the district heating system, which serves the campus. In addition, the system also provides energy for over 50% of the university's annual electricity consumption. The main system operates from the central boiler house, with a smaller CHP system serving the Gibbet Hill campus.
Andrew Leeson of Warwick University commented, "By incorporating Dalkia's on-site CHP technology, we have benefited from a solution that has not only increased our efficiency and reduced costs, but its sustainability is helping us to meet our long-term green commitments by reducing carbon emissions significantly."
A typical saving of around £45,000 per year can be made on a site operating a 200kw CHP plant, resulting in a carbon saving of 325 tonnes.