The most recent upgrade of the University's CHP plant has not only improved its performance further but also it underpinned the University's continued commitment to CHP, which was formally acknowledged at the 2014 COGEN Europe Recognition Awards.
Since the installation of its first combined heat and power unit (CHP) in 2001, the University of Warwick has invested more than £4m into the roll-out of CHP technology and district heating. Today, it benefits from a total of 4.6MW CHP capacity that supplies the 292 hectare campus with power and hot water through a district heating network, saving the University in excess of 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.
The latest replacement of an existing engine with a 400kWe CHP on the main campus and the installation of a 400kWe on the University's Gibbet Hill campus have increased the co-generation capacity to cover a total of over 50% of the campus's annual electricity consumption and 60% of its heat demand. Importantly, this output can be produced with lower carbon emissions as the gas-fired CHPs generate usable heat and power in a single process - they recover the waste heat produced during power generation, which in traditional power stations would be rejected.
The power and hot water generated by the CHP is distributed out to teaching and lecture facilities as well as to 6,200 bedrooms across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate campus residences.
"Thanks to the CHPs we have a more reliable and secure energy supply with a better environmental performance because our plant is close, independent of energy imports and its primary fossil fuel consumption is considerably lower. We are very aware of the impact that a university of our size has, so it is only sensible to capitalise on renewable energy options and to educate people throughout the organisation how to use energy and water responsibly", says Joel Cardinal, Energy Manager at the University of Warwick.
Later this year the University will open a further 4MWe energy centre. An additional two engines will then bring the total CHP capacity to 8.6MWe.
In the meantime, the University's outstanding investment has not gone unnoticed. At the 2014 COGEN Europe Recognition Awards the University of Warwick won the Technology/Innovation Award 2014 for championing CHP technology and district heating in its energy and carbon strategy.