Helping the UK get all steamed up

Combined heat and power production

BWSC’s power specialists designed a UK power plant, so it could channel process steam to a nearby science park. The innovative solution improves efficiency, lowers carbon emissions and delivers higher returns to investors.

During the 1970s, high fuel prices and scarce fossil fuel reserves led Denmark’s energy planners and engineers to seek ways to improve power plant efficiency. 

District heating and combined heat and power production (CHP) were important developments that came out of this period. 

Today, district heating and process steam networks are common in Denmark and many other countries, but they’re virtually unknown in UK. However, that might be changing, after BWSC applies the technology to Kent Renewable Energy CHP Plant in south-eastern England.

Kent Renewable Energy CHP Plant

  • Inaugurated September 2018 – two months ahead of schedule
  • No lost time injuries
  • BWSC was the designer and contractor of the power plant which is located adjacent to Discovery Park, a major science and research centre in the UK
  • The power plant can receive and burn wood from a wide range of suppliers, who deliver the wood as chips or whole tree trunks.  Recycled/refuse wood is also used as fuel. 

Technology transfer

The power plant at Kent is one of the world’s most advanced biomass power plants. With 27 MWe of capacity, it provides enough electricity to power some 50,000 homes in the area. 

However, what’s interesting from an energy efficiency perspective, is how Kent puts process steam to good use. Instead of simply sending heat into the atmosphere like so many other power plants, the heat is channelled to neighbouring Discovery Park – a high tech hub for the UK’s pharma industry.

At Discovery Park, the process steam is used to clean equipment, sterilise instruments as well as provide heat. By building the plant in close proximity to Discovery Park, the plant delivers reliable affordable energy for end users. 

The setup makes it possible to raise Kent’s total efficiency by approximately 5%. That might not sound like much, but when dealing with 27 MWe of power production, just a smal percentage makes a difference. 


“It’s not enough to develop a project that can deliver profits for ten years or so. Our planet is seeing the effects of that short-sightedness. We’ve developed circular solutions that boost efficiency and protect resources over decades.”

Anders Brendstrup, General Manager, Biomass and Waste-to-energy Sales


Renewable fuel source

Kent reduces carbon emissions in other ways. 

Instead of coal, wood is used as fuel from locally managed woodlands. And because the trees are replaced with new saplings, the fuel is part of a production cycle that is carbon-neutral. 

At Kent and our other UK projects, we demonstrate that energy efficient solutions make a good business case.

Anders Brendstrup, General Manager, Biomass and Waste-to-energy Sales explains that in the age of climate change, energy planners have to take a far-sighted approach. 

“It’s not enough to develop a project that can deliver profits for ten years or so,” says Brendstrup. “Our planet is seeing the effects of that short-sightedness. We’ve developed circular solutions that boost efficiency and protect resources over decades.”

Cooling towers could be a thing of the past.

Many traditional power plants waste heat energy by sending it into the atmosphere.

Simply put, CHP, or cogeneration, puts the surplus heat energy from electricity production to work. While power plants in the UK and elsewhere expel heat energy to the atmosphere through giant cooling towers, the frugal Danes direct heat energy contained in steam and channel it to district heating networks where it can be used to heat homes and businesses. Or they use the steam for industrial processes – so-called ‘process steam’. 


Waste-to-energy
Making waste useful

Environment
Minimising environmental impact