A new approach to heating at our site at Redwitz, Germany is efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly
Johnson Matthey's heating system at its Redwitz site, which manufactures catalysts, was over 20 years old and beginning to lose reliability. As the time approached to consider repairs and replacement, thoughts turned to more efficient and sustainable combined heat and power (CHP) systems.
As electricity is generated in a CHP plant, waste heat produced by the system is captured and channelled into a heating system – heat and power from a single source. Energy losses are modest compared to conventional methods of generation. The energy produced is used locally and referred to as 'decentralised'.
Energy prices have been rising in Germany and consumption is subject to various taxes - this provided an additional incentive to explore the introduction of CHP on the site.
Combined heat and power is a cost saving and energy efficient approach
The question was: would CHP work at Redwitz? The method is best suited to a site where the heat can be used locally, which was precisely the case here. To be a cost effective and efficient investment, a CHP plant would have to run in its high load range for a significant number of hours over the year. This means that all the electricity and heat that it produces are always needed with none being wasted. This requirement was also met by installing a unit matched to the heating needs of part of the plant.
To test the waters, a small CHP unit was installed. This will allow the team at Redwitz to understand the functionality and handling of the system. So far, so good. The team is now learning more about what CHP can do for the business. The next step will be to monitor and asses the benefits of the system and eventually decide if a bigger installation covering the whole site can be recommended.
These are early days in the project but the site recognises the benefits of CHP; it is efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly. As a cost saving and energy efficient approach to heating and generation, CHP will bring dual benefits, both strengthening Johnson Matthey as a financially and environmentally sustainable business. On a site that manufactures environmental technologies for others, what could be more fitting?