Whether you’re a hospital, university, or a commercial store selling perishables, the prospect of losing power in your facility can be frightening. It could mean shut downs, lost sales, ruined products, and, for some industries, could even put human lives in danger.
A cogeneration or Combined Heat and Power (CHP) solution carries multiple benefits, the most significant ones being efficiency and reliability. A CHP plant offers a continued supply of electricity even when the power grid goes down. This means that it can support critical functions and operations, immensely reducing financial, safety, and health risks.
Another key benefit of CHP is the possibility of integrating with Micro-Grids – smaller nodes of highly energy efficient CHP, when integrated with other CHP systems and the grid can greatly improve the economic and operational status at each site.
So, instead of having one giant central stand-alone CHP system, smaller CHP integrated into Micro-Grids, can create mini versions of the larger electric utility grid. Due to the potential to reduce costs and provide greater reliability, more and more Micro-Grids installed next to utility grids now include CHP technology – a winning solution protecting revenue streams – so your business can continue to operate even if a disaster strikes.
If you are wondering which systems your CHP or Micro-Grid should support, here are some examples of different industries and what has been suitable solution for their specific needs:
For commercial food stores, such as supermarkets and bakeries, a power outage can mean lost revenues and lost product. Some systems that a food store could consider putting onto a CHP system may include freezers and chilled cabinets or display units. The obvious benefit here is to prevent losing products due to the loss of power.
Another alternative system that a retail store may want to consider putting onto a CHP system is point of sale (POS) systems and lighting in retail space. If the store can stay open with registers running, it can continue to serve customers and keep the revenue stream coming in. Stores then have the option to put their refrigerated and frozen items on sale to reduce inventory, and therefore, lost product.
Colleges and universities should consider creating a ‘safe haven’ by installing a system capable of keeping residents comfortable and safe 365/24/7, even during an extended power outage. Installing CHP onto a large student center or athletic facilities, for instance, would allow students to stay safe, warm, showered, and fed when a nasty winter storm knocks out power for several days.
For hospitals and other health care facilities, it’s crucial to install systems that can keep life-saving systems running regardless of the weather or other calamities. Think of all the electronic equipment needed to provide modern, world-class heath care. Healthcare facilities traditionally have backup-power through a generator. These systems are normally sized for life safety only and still require fuel deliveries during an extended outage. In an emergency, like Super Storm Sandy in 2012, many hospitals were unable to get fuel deliveries to keep their generators running and had to seek alternate solutions for their patients. Natural gas pipelines provide uninterrupted fuel supply to CHP systems during severe weather events.
CHP could also power the facility’s HVAC system, so that heating, cooling, and hot water are maintained during outages. In a healthcare facility, the loss of these necessities can be a life-threatening situation.
The situation is similar for hotels and the hospitality industry. Customers need to be kept comfortable. And demand often rises significantly during a power outage. The hotels that can keep the lights on, keep the rooms at a comfortable temperature, and provide the luxury of a hot shower can benefit significantly during these times. When many travelers have no option to return home, having these services becomes paramount.
In the entertainment industry, an organization wants to keep the entertainment, and therefore, the revenue, flowing at all times. A casino, for example, loses money when its slot machines are not running. Additionally, any power loss to an electronic gaming system, computers, and other electronics, puts them at significant risk of having system issues and costly repairs. Electronics don’t generally fair well when the plug is suddenly pulled.
In a manufacturing facility, power losses are costly for other reasons. Not only is production stopped while the power is out, but there can be other significant costs. Any work-in-progress may become a total loss. Materials may be lost. Many manufacturing machines have significant failures when the power is suddenly cut, leading to very costly maintenance and repair bills.
UGI Performance Solutions (UGIPS) can create a CHP system that can be efficient at all times and provide redundant power when the grid is down to keep those critical systems in your organization up and running.
At UGIPS, we proudly perform CHP design and installations for enhanced performance, a cleaner environment, and a better bottom line. We differ from other CHP companies because we can build small or large, modular or micro-grid systems, and offer a phased design-build approach.
We are the premier regional CHP provider with the capability to provide end-to-end CHP Solutions and are backed by UGI Corporation, a Fortune 500 company that has been a leader in the energy industry for over a century.
We invite you to contact us today to learn more about all the reasons why CHP/cogen technology is a winning solution and start a conversation on how we can support your business.