Types of Fuel

There are various options of fuel sources to power a CHP led energy centre with various considerations:

Types of Fuel

Natural Gas

  • The most commonly used fuel source and available in most parts of the UK
  • The most cost effective fuel due to popularity and availability
  • Gas suppliers can provide set prices based on factors such as energy centre location and the quantity of gas required which can assist in budgeting
  • Considered the cleanest of all fossil fuels due to a lower level of potentially harmful gases in its emissions
  • Reliable source as interruptions to the gas supply are uncommon
  • Requires the adequate design of a ventilation system which can increase initial expenditure

Distillate Oils

  • Import cost varies due to external international factors so it is difficult to predict generation price
  • Lighter than heavy fuel oil so easier to store
  • Contains almost no contaminants
  • Cheaper upfront cost but higher maintenance costs due to the necessity of extra equipment and care to store the fuel, requirement of a pump system to utilise the fuel and prevention from corrosion
  • Well-suited for remote locations that have no gas pipeline infrastructure
  • No existing pipeline infrastructure to automatically feed engine so requires truck deliveries
  • Generally highly priced so not financially viable for CHP engines other than as a stand-by fuel

Heavy Fuel Oil

  • Import cost varies due to external international factors so it is difficult to predict generation price
  • Needs to be heated before it can be utilised
  • Emissions tend to be more harmful than using natural gas
  • Cheaper upfront cost but higher maintenance costs due to the necessity of extra equipment and care to store the fuel, requirement of a pump system to utilise the fuel and prevention from corrosion
  • Well-suited for remote locations that have no gas pipeline infrastructure
  • No existing pipeline infrastructure to automatically feed engine so requires truck deliveries
  • Generally highly priced so not financially viable for CHP engines other than as a stand-by fuel

Syngas

  • Created through the process of gasification of carbon rich materials, transferring high polluting sources into lower polluting sources to create a reduction in carbon emissions
  • Greater carbon emission savings than natural gas but lower calorific value
  • Requires filtering before it can be utilised
  • Not readily available

Biogas

  • Gas emitted from biodegradable waste can be utilised and burnt to power CHP engines
  • Lower potentially harmful gas emissions than natural gas but lower calorific value meaning it does not provide as much heat
  • Higher implementation and maintenance costs as requires specialist engineers
  • Renewable technology that generates energy from waste
  • Converts a problematic gas into a useful and less dangerous fuel
  • Requires filtering before it can be utilised
  • Higher costs when used in an urban environment due to the need to import via a piped supply
  • May be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive that offers financial reward for energy used that has been generated from renewable sources

Biomass

  • Renewable technology that burns waste product and utilises the steam to generate energy
  • Low carbon emissions
  • Produces high value energy from steam and waste heat
  • Greater care needs to be taken with emissions due to being more harmful
  • Can adapt technology so emissions meet and better environmental legislation
  • May be eligible for the Contracts for Difference Government incentive that offers financial reward for energy used that has been generated from renewable sources which is a competitive initiative for good quality schemes