Cranswick and BasePower energy project goes live at flagship food production site

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BasePower and Cranswick plc announce that the CHP energy scheme at their Cranswick Country Foods site in Preston, Hull has been switched on.

Cranswick plc is a leading British producer of fresh and added value food products with an annual turnover of over £1.4bn.  They produce fresh meat, including pork and chicken as well as producing gourmet sausage & bacon, cooked meats, continental foods and savoury pastry products.  Most of the products are sold under own label brands for retailers, manufactures and food service operators. 

The site in Hull is the largest in the group and contains modern, well-invested facilities for the processing and production of fresh pork.  Due to the scale of the operation, the business is always looking for ways to reduce the carbon impact of the site, and also looking to bring down the cost of production. 

A 2.0MW CHP scheme has been developed and installed by BasePower, which is fully containerised in a noise-reducing complex.  Following a 12-month design and construction process the CHP was connected on schedule and in time for Christmas 2018. The scheme generates electricity and steam and the commissioning of hot water supplies is underway. When fully ramped up the CHP is projected to supply the majority of the site’s total electricity requirements and significantly reduce its overall electricity costs. The scheme will also reduce Cranswick’s carbon footprint with the saving of over 650 tonnes of CO2 per year.

BasePower has provided the full investment for the CHP system under a 9-year Power Purchase Agreement and will construct and operate the CHP throughout its life.

Darren Andrew, Site Director, Cranswick Country Foods said:
“Cranswick prides itself on being an industry leader in green thinking. Our dedication to reducing energy use and lowering the carbon footprint of our food production sites is a core part of our Second Nature initiative. BasePower’s on-site energy scheme underpins this commitment along with our own recent upgrades to animal welfare, food waste reduction and environmental performance here at Preston.”

Image shown courtesy of Cranswick plc

11 tips to consider when procuring a CHP project

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If your business is considering installing an on-site power generation scheme, getting the right project in place will have a clear impact on the subsequent energy and carbon savings that you can expect. So how do you ensure you choose the right scheme? Procurement teams often ask BasePower for advice so we have compiled some of the commercial, technical and operational questions you might wish to ask bidders.

 

1. What is the project’s true ROI likely to be?
Whether you or the bidder are financing the project, the higher the project’s return on investment, the higher the savings will be to you. CHP ROI is a function of:

·       The quantity of heat and power displaced from the grid

·       The electricity and gas prices over the life of the project

·       The project’s annual running hours

·       The average engine efficiency and therefore amount of gas fuel used

·       The Capex required given the scope of the project, and how this is financed.

 

It can be difficult for non-CHP specialists to interrogate numbers given by bidders, and the best way is usually to ask for actual figures from at least one project that the bidder is currently operating. Look for a partner who will give you an honest, realistic assessment of the expected energy savings.

 

2. Before starting, do you understand your site’s energy use and costs?
Before proceeding with a project, ensure you have a gained an accurate picture of your current energy costs and usage patterns, ideally on a half-hourly basis for the major uses. This will allow bidders to right-size a project, and also allow you to assess whether the CHP scheme proposed is realistic for your operation.

 

3. Have it laid out your way
It’s really important to get all bid information in as standard a format as possible, otherwise it can be very difficult to compare bids. In BasePower’s experience, asking bidders to complete a Performance Spreadsheet can be enormously helpful in giving you enough data to make an informed decision about the project's potential benefits. This should detail what heat and power the CHP will supply on an hourly basis throughout the year against a typical year of site demand. It should also calculate how the benefits are built up and help you check that the performance claims are realistic. Ask us for an example if you don’t have one.

 

4. What is required from the site?
You will want to choose a level of involvement that suits the skills and resource available from your company. Therefore get bidders to be crystal clear whether your organisation, as the buyer, will be responsible for any development (e.g. obtaining planning consent, environmental permit variations or grid connection offers), construction (enabling works, site management, Prime Contractor) or operational (insurance, compliance, fuel procurement) roles.

 

5. What will you really pay, and what if your energy use changes? 
There should be a clearly understandable mechanism which sets the price of power, steam, hot water and chill for your business, so you can run your own scenarios based on volume and price changes. Find out whether the proposed contracts include ‘take or pay’ or penal clauses if you change the quantity or balance of energy use on site, or close the site altogether. Finally, this may seem obvious but we have met bargain-looking offers where the host had not been told that they would be paying for the gas as well as the power. That may be fine for you, but don’t forget to check who pays for what.

 

6. Who will take the risk on CHPQA and Carbon
Government literature assumes that CHP projects will be at least as energy- and carbon-efficient as the generation technology they displace. Projects that do not meet this aim are more likely to be adversely affected by the further carbon legislation that will be brought in during their lifetime. Bidders should demonstrate clearly the CHPQA QI score and CO2 savings for the project, so that the buyer can calculate any effect on Enhanced Capital Allowances, Climate Change Levy or Climate Change Agreement charges if ‘Good Quality CHP’ or CO2 reductions are not achieved.

 

7. How robust is the project to changes in energy pricing?
Look at how many of the proposed benefits in the CHP contract are expected to come from energy charges e.g. Triad and DUoS avoidance. Be sceptical about benefits associated with avoiding these costs as these charges are currently under review by the Government at present. Ask your bidder how they think these might change and what impact will this have in the future?

 

8. What will the supplier guarantee?
It is vitally important to understand in what circumstances any supplier’s guarantees may not hold. This could potentially range from overruns in Devex or Capex, falls in consumption volumes, a changes to Embedded Benefits or even a delay in the project.

 

9. What happens if things go wrong?
We all know that moving parts trip or fail from time to time. Above all you will not want any site disruption if things go wrong at the CHP. From the start insist that the CHP scheme does not make the manufacturing site dependent on the CHP for its operation, and give engineering colleagues the right to sign off that the scheme does not allow CHP faults or trips to propagate into the factory’s power or heat infrastructure.  

 

10. Plan for the long term
A CHP Scheme can last between 10-15 years therefore ask bidders to describe to you their medium-term plans. How will the project’s O&M be arranged and how are major overhauls accounted for? Will there be a daily visual inspection? What about performance reviews, and what leverage do you have if performance promises are not met? 

 

11. Ask for references
Finally, ask bidders what recent projects they have installed in the last 24 months that are a similar size to your situation. Ideally the reference sites should use power and heat in a similar way and have similar commercial arrangements. Bidders should be willing to take you to see the scheme in operation and let you talk directly to the host.

 

For a complimentary Performance Spreadsheet template with a handy checklist to help your Procurement process, please contact our team.

7 energy efficiency tips for automotive manufacturers

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There are tough times in automotive right now. In the year to date, overall output has declined by -6.6% according to SMMT, driven predominantly by falling UK demand, which is currently down -18.6%. This has been compounded by slower growth across Europe and the uncertainty over Brexit and new diesel regulations.  The low pound also means raw materials and subcomponents are more expensive, so every pound in the business has to go further.

How can the energy manager do their bit to help the company reduce its energy consumption and become more efficient?  Here are our top tips:

  1. In BasePower’s experience, getting a multi-disciplinary team together to address energy use across the business is the most helpful first step. It will take engineers to identify where energy can be saved, but back-up from procurement and finance colleagues gives credence to savings forecasts and can make it much easier to secure any necessary investment.

  2. It is essential to understand where you use the most energy, so aim to collect hourly energy use data for each major plant item for a defined period of time. You can then start to identify where waste occurs and savings can be made.

  3. A cheap and effective way of saving energy is for it to become embedded in the behavioural culture of the business. All employees can feel responsible for playing their part.  Successful examples include switching non-essential machinery off when production stops, and regular re-setting of flow and temperature settings. As well as costing nothing to introduce, these also reduce wear and tear costs on plant.

  4. If you haven’t carried out many energy efficiency projects before, it is best to start with low-budget interventions with solid paybacks as these build confidence. LED lighting is at least 60% more efficient even than fluorescent systems. Variable Speed Drives, which allow motors, pumps and conveyors to be operated at just the power required to achieve the desired output, also reduce start-stop wear and tear on plant.

  5. Power Factor Correction increases the low power factor often experienced by manufacturers, thereby reducing the site’s kVA and kVArh costs.

  6. Air compressor heat recovery captures the 90% of compressor energy that would otherwise be dissipated as heating the oil cooler, using it on site for space heating and similar high volume, low temperature requirements.

  7. Destratification fans reduce space heat requirements by up to 20% through homogenising air temperatures within high buildings.

The impact of any one of these tips is relatively small in isolation. However demonstrating successful paybacks internally is really effective in building confidence for more ambitious interventions such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) projects where the big savings really start to stack up. 

On-going rises in energy prices mean that many of BasePower’s own on-site energy generation schemes deliver savings of over 15% on the grid cost of energy supplied when fully-funded by BasePower, while customer-funded projects can pay back in in three years or less if well-utilised, as well as significantly reducing the site’s carbon footprint.  Contact us for more information.

 

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The pressure to be leaner and greener is prompting manufacturers to take a long hard look at their energy usage. BasePower’s George Fowkes is interviewed by Food Manufacturer magazine on how the food industry can reduce its energy costs with CHP.

This article was published in the September issue of Food Manufacturer and is also available on their website.

BasePower Shortlisted for Second Industry Award for Automotive Project

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BasePower’s on-site energy scheme at Plastic Omnium, Measham has been shortlisted for an Association of Decentralised Energy award, the second time that a BasePower project has reached the finals of an industry award in 2018.

The Combined Heat, Power and Cooling project at Plastic Omnium, Measham, is recognised as the first on-site energy scheme in the UK automotive sector to use absorption chiller technology to significantly reduce energy costs and carbon. Since the project was switched on in June 2017 the targeted savings for electricity and heat use have already been exceeded, along with a considerable improvement in the site’s CO2 footprint.

The Association of Decentralised Energy (ADE) awards are designed to recognise and celebrate decentralised energy achievements and the innovations of the future. The awards will take place at a black tie event at London’s Guildhall on 25th October.

BasePower’s project at Plastic Omnium Measham also made the finals of the Business Green Leaders Awards earlier in the year, while its CHP at Groupe Lactalis Caledonian Cheese in Stranraer won a Rushlight Award in 2017.

BasePower shortlisted for Business Green Leaders Award for automotive project

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BasePower has been shortlisted for a Business Green Leaders Award for its on-site energy project at Plastic Omnium, a Tier 1 supplier to the automotive industry. The Business Green Leaders Awards shine a light on the UK's leading green businesses, recognising the progress of sustainable business models and clean technologies which have continued to force their way into the mainstream.

BasePower has reached the shortlist in the annual sustainability awards for the company's initiatives to drive energy efficiency in the automotive industry.  Its CHP project at Plastic Omnium Measham, a Tier 1 supplier to JLR and Nissan, is recognised as the first CHP project in the UK automotive sector to use absorption chiller technology to significantly reduce energy costs and carbon. 

BasePower will join finalists across 25 different categories at the 8th annual Business Green Leaders Award awards ceremony, taking place on Wednesday 27 June at the Brewery, London.

 

Cranswick partners with BasePower for major energy project on flagship site

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BasePower, an award-winning provider of on-site power plants for the food and industrial sectors, today announces a 9 year Power Purchase Agreement with Cranswick plc, for its Cranswick Country Foods site in Preston, Hull.

Cranswick plc, a FTSE 250 company, is one of the largest food producers in Britain.  Cranswick Country Foods in Hull is the company’s biggest site, producing fresh pork products and processing over 6500 pigs per day.

To support a number of improvement projects at Preston, Cranswick wanted to make its energy infrastructure more competitive and sustainable. BasePower will develop, install and operate a 2.0MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system, producing low-carbon electricity, steam and hot water for use in the site’s manufacturing process. The scheme also includes the upgrade of other heat infrastructure to maximise energy efficiency in the sterilisation and sanitisation processes.

BasePower has provided the full investment for the CHP system under a 9 year Power Purchase Agreement and will construct and operate the CHP throughout its life. The installation is already underway, with switch-on expected in late Summer 2018.

Darren Andrew, Site Director, Cranswick Country Foods said:
“We are delighted to work with BasePower to establish a low-carbon, on-site energy scheme for Preston, which is closely aligned with our Second Nature sustainability initiative. In an environment of rising power costs this will further improve our energy efficiency, helping to keep Cranswick at the cutting edge of cost competitiveness and reducing our environmental impact.”

George Fowkes, Director of BasePower said:
“We are now seeing real traction for CHP in the food sector as manufacturers realise they can achieve a step-change reduction in energy costs and carbon emissions with on-site energy generation.  By working in close collaboration with the Cranswick team, the site will continue with business as usual while the CHP project is being installed, commissioned and operated.”        

Picture courtesy of Cranswick PLC

BasePower seeks Head of Business Development, Sustainable Energy Generation

Are you interested in helping major blue chip organisations reduce their energy costs and environmental impact through an exciting business development role?  Are you perhaps returning from a career break and looking for an opportunity to take an entrepreneurial company to a new level?

BasePower is an award-winning company with an innovative business model that helps large manufacturers make a step-change reduction in their energy costs and carbon emissions. The company was founded in 2014 by a team who had previously deployed over £130m of investment into renewables generation and energy efficiency in the UK.

We are looking for a Head of Business Development to join our rapidly expanding company which develops, funds and installs on-site energy schemes, and has a growing portfolio of FTSE 250 clients in the automotive and food manufacturing sectors.

Whilst experience in the power/energy or manufacturing sectors could be an advantage, we are primarily looking for a self-starter with a track record of solutions selling in a business-to-business environment, who is capable of building relationships at the highest level.

The role is suitable for flexible working. You don’t have to be based in London but will need to travel regularly to our offices near Waterloo station, and of course to manufacturing sites throughout the country. 

This is a supported hire position in conjunction with Women Returners: successful hires who have taken a career break of 2+ years will receive coaching support through the transition period.

For more information and a full job description please contact george.fowkes@basepower.com.To apply, please send your CV by email to Tom Shoobridge at info@barnabystewart.com quoting HOBD/246/19.

 

BasePower to Address Food and Beverage Conference on Avoiding Rising Energy Costs in the Light of Brexit

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The 4th annual Sustainable Food and Beverage Conference is set to take place next week and will bring together a wide range of stakeholders instrumental in creating a sustainable food and beverage industry.

Robin Hardy, BasePower’s Director of Projects will deliver a seminar on one of the most important issues currently facing the industry:  How Should Food and Drink Manufacturers Address Rising Energy Costs in the Light of Brexit?

 In a post-referendum UK the lower pound should be a boon to food manufacturers seeking growth in export markets.  However as food and drink manufacturing is an energy intensive process, businesses are facing rapidly rising energy costs caused by increases in the wholesale and pass-through components of power prices. Concerned about this and the decades of under investment in UK energy infrastructure, manufacturers are increasingly looking at energy sources that are cost-effective, resilient and sustainable.

Large industrial energy users have used on-site power generation, in the form of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) for decades. However, a combination of technical and business model innovation is now making CHP particularly attractive for food and drink manufacturers, with an increasing number of successful projects which are reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.

In this seminar BasePower will discuss recent improvements in on-site power generation, heat and cooling, using award-winning case studies from the food and industrial sectors. These case studies show how high-volume energy users have accessed fully financed, build-own-operate CHP schemes without any requirement for capital expenditure, and have been installed without any interruption to operations.

The annual Sustainable Food and Beverage Conference is being held on 7th November 2017 at the Ricoh Arena Coventry. To find out more and register visit the event website.

Review of Interplas 2017

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“Innovation happens here” was the theme of Interplas 2017 which this year housed almost five hundred exhibitors alongside a supporting program of talks on the challenges and innovations in today’s plastics industry. 

Not surprisingly automotive uses and requirements featured prominently in the programme.

Ian Ray, Lead Materials Engineer of JLR opened the speakers’ lineup.

Plastics already make up 20% by weight of a typical JLR vehicle but three megatrends – towards electric propulsion and autonomous control, and away from traditional ownership – offer a big opportunity for this to grow. Ian called for the UK automotive industry to collaborate to keep Britain at the forefront of these trends.

Building on the theme of energy use and echoing JLR’s call for further weight reduction in cars, Mark Ellis, Manager Materials Design and Test at Nissan Europe, also warned that rising energy costs and riskier supply are major challenges for the industry.

The energy theme was continued throughout the conference. After CSS Technology’s seminar on how injection moulders can increase energy efficiency, George Fowkes of BasePower took to the stage in the afternoon to talk about Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Ongoing power price rises are very difficult to pass onto customers and CHP allows plastics manufacturers to make major inroads into energy and emissions savings.

George explained that for most industrial energy users power and heat are is still sourced separately from the grid. Using energy in this way is only around 50% efficient. A well-designed CHP project can be as much as 80-90% efficient, however. This gives an opportunity for major cost and carbon savings.  

George went on to outline recent improvements in generation efficiency, absorption chilling and finance models. Together these are making CHP an attractive option for an ever-wider audience of energy users. He showcased BasePower's recent project at Plastic Omnium Automotive, a Tier 1 supplier of automotive exteriors. The 2MW CHP scheme at Plastic Omnium’s Measham factory supplies power, heat and chill to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.

Throughout Interplas there was a clear message to automotive and polymer manufacturers to take energy seriously. If you spend £1m or more on energy then the savings from CHP really start to stack up. BasePower is here to help.

(Image supplied courtesy of Interplas)