Recognising the uncertainty of investment in UK energy infrastructure, businesses are increasingly looking at energy sources that are both resilient and sustainable. Sectors such as food and drink, automotive, and pharmaceutical industries are energy intensive and face fierce industry competition and rapidly rising energy costs. With the withdrawal of renewables subsidies it is increasingly difficult for businesses to achieve their annual carbon reduction targets by installing on-site renewables. CHP is the remaining technology that is reliable, big enough to drive large cost reductions and subsidy free.

BasePower works in these sectors - food and beverage, automotive and pharma - but welcomes enquiries from high energy using organisations in other sectors.

How CHP supplies electricity and heat  

How CHP supplies electricity and heat  

The benefits of Combined Heat & Power

CHP is on-site energy generation where the heat by-product is captured and put to productive use. The overiding benefit of a CHP program is therefore significantly reduced costs for power, heat and cooling.

Projects are sized to provide the host’s power baseload with the rest topped up from the grid. Typical projects provide a guaranteed discount against grid costs using a medium term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

By generating heat and power simultaneously, CHP can significantly reduce carbon emissions compared with conventional generation via a boiler and power station. This is fiscally-allowable, so well-designed and run CHP schemes can help users meet their CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme and Climate Change Obligations. They also address retail supplier initiatives such as Plan A for long-term sustainable business value.


The food sector in the UK combines excellence in agriculture, product innovation and lean manufacturing. However margins are thin and capital expensive due to the immense buyer power of the main retailers.

The lower pound should be a boon to food companies seeking growth in export markets, but increases in both the wholesale and pass-through components of power prices is putting this under threat. 

The heat by-product of on-site CHP is in the form of steam at up to 180°C and hot water at 90-95°C. This is a good match for the widest range of food manufacturing activities and makes it possible for food sector CHP schemes to be highly financially and carbon efficient. In some cases food companies have installed their own CHP plant; increasingly manufacturers prefer a fully-financed solution in order to deploy the hard won Capex in their core business.

The overriding benefit of a CHP program is significantly reduced costs for power, heat and cooling. By reducing  CO2 emissions CHP also addresses retail supplier initiatives such as Plan A for long-term sustainable business value.

There are an increasing number of CHP schemes now operational in the food and drink sector from dairy, deserts and confectionary through to salads. These include:

  • BasePower's own 2MW CHP scheme at the Caledonian Cheese dairy, in Stranraer, Scotland
  • Tangerine Confectionery's 750KW project in Pontefract, West Yorkshire
  • Mondelez' 3.7MW gas turbine at its Banbury coffee production facility in Banbury, Oxon.

The advantages of CHP in the Food sector

With rising energy levies and issues around security of supply in the news, on-site power generation is now more attractive than ever for large energy users.

View the BasePower white paper now to read why Combined Heat & Power (CHP) solutions make sense for the food and beverage industry.



Car assembly plants and their Tier 1 and 2 suppliers usually run at full capacity for over 600 hours per month, with high electricity loads for power moulding, hydraulic and robotic machinery, motors, space and process chilling.

While high in volume, a great deal of the heat use in the automotive sector is below 150°C. For instance maintaining humidity and temperature in paint and assembly halls as well as for use in curing, drying and autoclaving. BasePower works with suppliers to the automotive and related industries, as CHP is ideally and traditionally associated with this range of temperatures.

CHP heat can also contribute to heat use up to and above 1000°C, e.g. in metals processing, in the form of steam supply or pre-heat to combustion gases.

In automotive the requirement for rapid payment on investment is often exacerbated by benefit-sharing clauses in many supply contracts. These together make many in-house investments in energy efficiency unviable. But when installed on a build-own-operate basis CHP can allow automotive manufacturers and suppliers to access substantial energy cost and CO2 reductions without having to deploy scarce and expensive capital of their own.

CHP can also cornerstone an Energy Centre to operate in ‘Island Mode’ during black or brown-outs should these become more frequent as investment in UK power infrastructure continues to lag behind what is required.

Automotive companies and suppliers who have successfully installed CHP systems include the following:

  • BasePower’s own 2MW CHP scheme under construction at Plastic Omnium Automotive in Measham, Derbyshire
  • Hydro Polymers in Newton Aycliffe, UK
  • Denso Thermal Systems at Avellino, Italy

Pharmaceutical manufacture is highly capital-intensive. As a result, pharma plants are usually run 24/7 and exhibit high power usage consistent with the pumps, fans, aerators, mixers chillers in constant use over extended periods.

Although the days of intensive steam use to make generics in the UK are largely over, pharma plants are still substantial users of heat for temperature control and utilise steam as their main means of energy transport.

The main uses of heat include steam as a reagent, pre-heat, reaction temperature control and wash-down/sterilisation, as well as injection moulding for packaging, drug delivery and medical equipment. The majority of this heat is used at below 150°C, in the ideal range for supply by a reciprocating gas engine of the sort used by BasePower.

CHP can also cornerstone an Energy Centre to operate in ‘Island Mode’ during black or brown-outs should these become more frequent as investment in UK power infrastructure continues to lag what’s required.

In a number of cases that BasePower has seen, decommissioned CHP assets can be repurposed on a build-own-operate basis, allowing pharma manufacturers to access energy cost and CO2 reductions once again without having to deploy capital or sacrifice further site area.

CHP has been popular with branded pharmaceutical and fine chemical manufacturers worldwide, although take-up among the most cost-sensitive Contract Research and Manufacture (CRAM) manufacturers has been slower to date:

  • GSK’s 20MW of CHP at 6 sites in the UK
  • AstraZeneca in Macclesfield
  • Janssen in Cork, Ireland

Contact us today to discuss your energy use and project requirements.