Published: 9 February 2021

Critical Pandemic Optimisation for CHPs

Critical CHP Optimisation throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The Energy Revolution has been installing combined heat and power engines (CHPs) throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to a number of hotels across the country, and this has taken place despite the CHP’s being modelled prior to when the pandemic took hold in the UK in 2020.

The process of installing a CHP from concept to completion can be anywhere upwards from 3 months, depending on the size or number of CHP engines to be used on any given site, or the number of sites the engines are to be deployed across. As such the CHP schemes installed at hotels throughout the last 12 months were designed and modelled at pre-pandemic (normal) occupancy levels.

Hotel energy profiles which are used to identify a premises demand for heat and power are intrinsically linked with occupancy levels and were utilised to size the engines against each hotel.

Although a few hotels managed to maintain occupancy throughout the pandemic by taking in keyworkers, accepting discharging patients from hospitals or simply due to their location, many were not as lucky and resultantly their pandemic energy profiles were lower than the initial modelling.

For a CHP, a significant drop in a sites demand could be disastrous, if a CHP cannot offload the generated heat, then the engine could shut down (a common issue in older installations especially when the equipment was not correctly sized). Additionally, if the CHP generated more power than a site can utilise, then the excess power could flow back into the grid, which is not only wasted energy but also it is not permitted.

For this reason, all Energy Revolution CHP engines are fitted with export controls, allowing remote access and optimisation of each CHP engine. Such a feature has been critical throughout the pandemic as this has permitted engineers to dial into each engine and using each engine’s live data, adjust operational parameters so the engine can match the pandemic energy profile of the hotel.


The above diagram details a hotels electricity draw from the national grid at pandemic occupancy levels, and the effect a newly installed CHP has on this. The chart highlights the importance of not oversizing CHPs, and that in this instance the baseload had been expertly modelled. Whilst no-one could have predicted a global pandemic, a larger CHP simply would not have coped with the shortfall in demand and would have shut down.

As occupancy levels once again begin to rise following restrictions being eased, this hotel’s draw from the grid will also rise, but with the baseload will be proficiently removed by the CHP providing budget certainty and a vast reduction in carbon emissions.

An excellent example of export control in action can be seen in the following chart. This particular hotel fared better through the pandemic namely due to location, with occupancy levels not dropping of quite as drastically. However, occupancy did still drop and ultimately the demand for heat and power followed suit. In response to this, Energy Revolution engineers remotely accessed and expertly optimised the two synchronised 50kW engines to match the new modulating load of the hotel. The chart below details the remaining power being drawn from the national grid following the engineer’s intervention and optimisation of the equipment.

If you have a combined heat and power unit and would like further information regarding export controls units, or help with running your plant, please get in touch with us.

Alternatively, have you considered outsourcing the operation and upkeep of your CHP? If not, you probably should. We offer to purchase any existing CHP, providing you with an injection of cash for the equipment, and then we provide a service agreement where we will optimise and run your CHP, delivering you guaranteed annual savings, carbon reductions and more free time! For further details click our CHP Buyback Scheme link.