Trigeneration in Supermarkets: Investment Brief

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Why Trigeneration?

This report is intended for use by Business Development directors of Supermarkets with an international presence. It collects and interprets information pertaining to potential investment in Trigeneration technology. This includes; a review of the driving forces behind the developing trend towards renewable energy and sustainable energy technologies; what is required for the operation of the technology, the potential for return on investment.

Drawing together statistics and research the report highlights the debate surrounding human impact on a stable ecological environment, and the reliance of business on energy, the generation of which is tantamount to risking the future health of business’s profitability due to the fuels used, inefficiency of generation and distribution, and the effects of the resultant pollution. The cost of Global warming is difficult to measure as the scale is impossible to predict, however worst case scenarios most certainly involve disruption of mainstream energy networks, making independent energy generation methods even more valuable.

In laymen’s terms, Trigeneration squeezes much more energy out of the same fuel than traditional generation methods by using ‘Combined Heat and Power Technology’ (CHP) and incorporating refrigeration by the Absorption method. Both will be explained in this paper. Developed in the 1970’s CHP or Co-Generation is a tried and tested, very efficient system of simultaneously generating heat and electrical energy. In optimum conditions – where the device is in use almost constantly, a CHP can be up to 90% efficient, meaning that more of the energy from the fuel can be used instead of lost in transmission. It is feasible nonetheless, to generate electrical energy and profit from it via transporting it though existing networks; however, it is not practical to transport heat or generate income from it in the same way. Generation of heat must be produced locally to the purpose it is intended for. District heating Schemes are already gaining interest from this sector, as supermarkets within their existing locations are usually in prime urban locations and could become even more central to customer’s lives. Not only would the store be the community food supply hub, but the energy generation station as well. In generating Electricity and Refrigeration for the Outlet, there would in most cases be more energy required than heat, therefore rather than wasting it, systems could be altered to transport heat to local resident’s homes, other shops, and community buildings even including community swimming pools. The potential for fostering good relationships between a community’s supermarket and their lifestyles could potentially be extremely rewarding if existing loyalty schemes are modified to incorporate energy as a product. This report suggests that regulation of prices would have to come from an overseeing body and would be regulated to ensure fair profits. The benefit of regulation of this scheme would be that areas of fuel poverty could gain access to reasonably priced, efficiently generated heat. However, there would still be need for houses to be provided with means of cooking in summer months the requirement for heat would necessarily heed to be converted into cooling in order for the Electrical requirements of the store to be met.

As well as substantially reducing a business’s energy bills, investing in decentralised energy generation has a real and potentially lucrative advantage. Income attained by selling-on surplus electricity to consumers involves taking advantage of government initiatives in financial support of reducing energy inefficiency. Customers might also purchase heat if circumstances permit. Investors in CHP technology buy into efficient resource consumption; which makes sense for conducting business sustainably. Fundamentally, this describes the approach of working today to insulate the business from...
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