British Fleetsolve is at the forefront in the developing field of bio-powered technology. The company has seen its Scania-powered Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units chosen by supermarket giant Tesco to help minimise its impact on the environment.
TEXT: PHIL SAMPSON
When Tesco opens the world’s first zero carbon store in Ramsey, a small town situated near the UK university city of Cambridge, later this year, it will mark the latest major milestone in the supermarket’s massive green investment programme.
One especially innovative aspect of Tesco’s approach is the utilisation of Fleetsolve’s sophisticated (CHP) systems within its stores, of which Ramsey will be the latest manifestation. In fact, the use of Fleetsolve’s CHP solution at Ramsey is an integral part of the project and a key contributor to the premises’ zero-carbon status.
Reduced carbon footprint
Tesco engaged Fleetsolve in 2007 to jointly explore alternatively-fuelled generation systems to reduce its carbon footprint by lowering the company’s reliance on mains supply gas and electricity. Fleetsolve has since installed its Scania-engined CHP units to a number of stores and distribution centres nationwide.
“The Tesco project fits seamlessly with the global remit to reduce carbon emissions and the impact of industry on the environment,” says Fleetsolve’s Managing Director, Keith O’Connor. “We are committed to an on-going programme of research and development, which continually pushes the boundaries to create unique sustainable power solutions for the embedded power generation and automotive sectors.”
Unique bio-fuel system
“We were keen to select the most robust and forward-thinking engine partner for our 150 to 500 kVA range combined heat and power (CHP) solutions, so a number of different engines were subjected to a rigorous 3,000 hour dynamometer trial,” adds Mr O’Connor. “The Scania engine performance was unsurpassed under laboratory conditions and proved that they are efficient, intelligent and reliable and therefore ideal for integrating with Fleetsolve’s own unique bio-fuel combustion system.
“The specially designed system enables the engine to operate even more efficiently when using sustainably sourced organic fuels, reducing carbon emissions by over 80 percent and improving fuel efficiency by five percent. This solution when used in Fleetsolve’s CHP unit provides an overall plant efficiency of 90 percent, which is of particular benefit for achieving carbon reduction, cost-effective energy supply and obtaining the stringent and sometimes elusive planning permissions for new building applications.
“All of these elements form part of the Fleetsolve Sustainable Power Package which includes assistance with planning applications, emissions control, ground works, fuel tank, bio-fuel supply and the full installation and commissioning of the CHP.
Fleetsolve also supplies an ongoing energy management and maintenance service to ensure high levels of performance and availability.”
Scania 16-litre V8
At the heart of the Tesco Ramsey system is a constant-running Scania 16-litre V8 engine driving a 350kW generator connected in parallel with the mains electricity.
In addition to the unit’s electrical power-output, heat from the exhaust, cooling system and lubrication system is captured and used to heat and cool the store. In this way, the CHP system provides two streams of energy – electrical and heat – from a single fuel input.
In operation, Fleetsolve’s advanced control system manages electrical demand from the generator and enables it to shed load when required. It also synchronises the unit’s power output with the incoming supply, monitors mains faults and exports electricity when demand is low.
In terms of heating, a state-of-the-art electronic CHP management system tracks the requirements of the building and adjusts the CHP’s output accordingly.
A further factor underpinning Fleetsolve’s use of Scania engines is the backup provided by the nationwide Scania dealer network. “This is an extremely important aspect for us,” says Keith O’Connor. “As our systems are required to be available for use 24/7 throughout the UK, we have to be able to rely on first-class after-sales support from our engine supplier.
“The extent of the Scania network means this need can be fulfilled easily anywhere, and consequently each system we deliver has a Scania engine maintenance contract attached to it.
“This ensures support will be on hand for the engines whenever we should need it. Once again, this adds to our confidence and gives the peace of mind that both we and our customer demand.”
Tesco’s award winning environmental performance
In terms of environmental leadership, Tesco is unquestionably at the forefront and a pioneer in the field. The environment rides high on its Corporate Social Responsibility agenda and its words are backed up by actions – the company was recently awarded the prestigious UK Carbon Trust Standard.
This achievement is granted only to organisations which demonstrate measurable progress in reducing their carbon footprint and have an ongoing commitment to the environment.
The Carbon Trust Standard is a coveted award presented only to companies that pass a rigorous, independent investigation into how they are cutting their carbon footprint and reducing their direct impact on climate change.
Commenting on Tesco’s award of the Carbon Trust Standard, the scheme’s General Manager Harry Morrison said: “Tesco has demonstrated that successful businesses can grow and simultaneously cut their emissions in absolute terms with a positive impact on the bottom-line. We urge other businesses to be inspired by Tesco’s achievement and take similar action.”
For Tesco, Executive Director Lucy Neville-Rolfe added: “Gaining the Carbon Trust Standard is incredibly important because it confirms, independently, that we are delivering on our ambitious plans to fight climate change as a successful, growing business. Tesco’s commitment to cutting our carbon footprint – among other key environmental targets – is central to our business strategy.”