What makes an exemplary cogeneration scheme? Well, these five new CHP/district energy schemes have just won awards from the UK CHP Association and they, together with four more highly commended entries, should answer the question. Steve Hodgson reports.

Each year, the UK Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) presents awards under four categories for the best recent CHP and district energy installations. Winning and highly commended entries tend to stand out for cost and carbon savings, sometimes achieved in innovative ways, and provide a snapshot of the best CHP schemes over the last couple of years.

Winning scheme – a computer-generated image of the King’s Yard energy centre in the London Olympic Park

The winners for 2011, like those for the previous year, demonstrate the growing use of biomass and an increased emphasis on cooling as well as heating. A Scottish paper mill now uses a biomass-fuelled CHP system to meet half its electrical needs. London’s main Olympic Games venues are to be supplied with heat, power and cooling from CHP plants partially fired with biomass.

CHP-based district energy systems are beginning to find their way into private sector housing developments. Record system efficiencies are being demonstrated at another sports venue in London, the National Sports Centre.

The 2011 CHPA Awards were presented in November at the Royal Courts of Justice in London by Alan Whitehead MP. ‘When you present awards to the Olympic Park, the National Sports Centre, a zero carbon community development, a paper manufacturer and a leading local authority, you really start to see the creativity, determination and drive of this industry,’ he said. ‘The UK CHP sector is demonstrating how to push the boundaries with outstanding projects.’

The entries were initially assessed by consultant AEA Technology and judged by a panel of Alan Whitehead, plus representatives from the Committee on Climate Change, Eoin Lees Energy and COSPP magazine.


Siemens and UPM Caledonian Paper (UPM) were awarded the Industrial and Commercial Award for the construction and installation of a 50 MW CHP plant at the UPM mill in Scotland. The 100% biomass solution is enabling the mill to meet more than half its electricity needs from renewable sources, cutting carbon emissions by 75,000 tonnes per annum.

Pulp and paper industry processes consume huge amounts of electricity and heat. UPM Caledonian set out to reduce its energy costs while improving competitiveness at its Irvine site, which is responsible for a third of all industrial and commercial electricity consumed across the Scottish region of Ayrshire.

Siemens was a natural partner for the project through its extensive experience within the UK’s pulp and paper industry, with operational plants such as Markinch biomass CHP in Fife and Stephen’s Croft in Lockerbie. The award highlights how Siemens’ state-of-the-art technology is making large-scale biomass generation a reality in the UK, says the company.

Siemens custom designed its SST-300 steam turbine to meet UPM’s specific requirements at the plant and also provided the control systems. The project was completed in less than two years and became fully operational in April 2009.

The plant has enabled the mill to meet all its steam requirements for producing coated papers and, in particular, drying the paper. The CHP process supplies about 55% of the entire site’s electricity needs, and the switch to biomass has eliminated the need for coal.

The plant is fully accredited with UK energy regulator, Ofgem, within the recently enhanced renewable obligation banding for emerging technologies, and has met all the ‘Good Quality’ CHP certification requirements.

Steve Wildman, director and general manager for Oil and Gas of Siemens plc, commented: ‘The joint UPM/Siemens teams have worked hard together to develop the best solution for the business over a number of years, and all our hard work has paid off. The plant is delivering energy efficiently and sustainably, and has exceeded expectations in terms of reducing UPM’s carbon footprint. This is excellent news for everyone. We are delighted that our achievement has been recognised in this award.’

The Scottish government has an ambitious target of meeting 80% of electricity demand through renewables by 2020. Biomass, as a distributed source of energy, is key to this vision and Scotland has pioneered several biomass projects, of which UPM’s Irvine site is among the largest.


The Public Sector Award, sponsored by AEA Technology, went to the Olympic Delivery Authority and Cofely GDF SUEZ for the Olympic Park and Stratford City in East London. The high visibility of the CHP installation’s site makes this winner especially pleasing. Cogeneration’s incorporation into the 2012 Olympic Games’ main London venues is also a glittering prize for the UK’s wider CHP industry.

Cofely has installed a district energy scheme to provide low-carbon heating and cooling from two state-of-the-art energy centres that incorporate combined heat, power and cooling systems with biomass-fuelled boilers.

The scheme comprises two interlinked energy centres serving the Olympic Park’s temporary and permanent venues, the Olympic Village, Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre, and businesses and homes in the Stratford area. The energy centres will also deliver low-carbon energy to the Olympic Park’s legacy buildings and surrounding developments, including the regeneration of Stratford City for up to 40 years.

Winning scheme – part of the extremely efficient CHP unit installed at the National Sports Centre in south London

The use of two interlinked energy centres enables the system to align maximum plant efficiency to variation in demand, exploiting the performance characteristics of each item of plant to achieve optimum efficiency. This also provides extra resilience for plant failures and routine maintenance.


Regeneco won the Community and Residential Award for Graylingwell Park, a former Victorian asylum in Chichester that is being transformed into the UK’s largest net zero carbon development. Graylingwell Park features an integrated, CHP-led district heating scheme that is introducing the benefits of distributed energy to a new sustainable community on this site.

Regeneco developed an exemplary net zero carbon energy strategy that proved key to securing the site for the housing developer. The energy strategy delivered by Regeneco has realised significant savings for the developer of about £13 million ($20 million). The strategy was focused around a centralised, gas-fired and CHP-led energy centre, delivering heat at 80°C into an associated heat network, supplying hot water and heating to individual premises via heat exchangers.


The Innovation Award, sponsored by Nabarro LLP, was presented to Vital Energi Utilities and Cynergin Consultants for the installation of a 1 MW CHP system at the National Sports Centre in south London.

Vital Energi and Cynergin have worked together to install a low-carbon CHP solution at the iconic National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace, a listed heritage building that opened in 1964. Cynergin was appointed initially to review the existing services and evaluate the potential for a range of energy- and carbon-saving technologies.

At the centre of Vital Energi’s turnkey solution is a new 1 MW CHP system that functions at a groundbreaking efficiency approaching 99%. The project innovates by using waste heat, including latent heat, from the gas engine exhaust to enhance efficiency and performance.

Winning scheme – the steam power block with integrated auxiliary systems installed in the biomass CHP plant at UPM Caledonian Paper in Scotland


The Champion Award, sponsored by Vital Energi, was presented to Bill Clark, sustainability policy manager at Southampton City Council. With three major networks, Southampton now has achieved the enviable status as the leading UK city for district heating and cooling with CHP. Clark’s drive and determination has seen the networks in the city expand and prosper. He has also used his knowledge to champion the approach in other towns and cities.

Winning scheme – internal view of the energy centre at Graylingwell Park


Four projects were highly commended by the judges:

  • ENER-G Combined Power and Tangerine Confectionery were recognised under the Industrial and Commercial Award. Five CHP and trigeneration schemes of between 230 kW and 500 kW were installed at three of Tangerine’s manufacturing sites, enabling the company to use the supplier’s discount energy purchase programme to gain substantial financial and carbon savings with no capital outlay.
  • Also under the Industrial and Commercial Award, Edina UK and Cranfield University were picked for the installation of a 1.4 MW gas-fuelled CHP plant, with steam boiler, at the Cranfield campus.
  • Dalkia was commended under the Public Sector Award for the replacement of an existing steam-based heating system with a new trigeneration plant that also provides standby power at Kings College Hospital, London.
  • Dundee City Council was commended under the Champion Award for its CHP programme for retrofitting public sector buildings.


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