Date of release: Friday, March 13, 2015

Carbon-reduction specialists from across Europe were treated to a  From left, Professor Pat Harvey, Gerry Bildstein and Paul Day, Chief Executive of Aquafuel, with the glycerol-fuelled heat and power system.preview of the world's first glycerol-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) system for buildings at the University of Greenwich on Monday 9 March.

In its bid to reduce global carbon emissions, the university has worked with CHP supplier Aquafuel to design and develop the bio-fuel CHP system to serve laboratories, workshops, teaching rooms and offices at its Medway Campus.

The work has been undertaken as part of Ecotec 21, a three-year, €4.2million project funded by the Interreg IVA Channel Programme co-financed by ERDF, the European Regional Development Fund.

The CHP system will go live later this year with unused electricity feeding into the National Grid. It will be powered by glycerol – a by-product of biodiesel manufacture made from used cooking oils and, in the future, from algae.

International bio-energy expert Professor Pat Harvey, of the Faculty of Engineering & Science, has taken the university lead for Ecotec 21. She says: "We were delighted to welcome our European partners to see our CHP system.

"It is the first glycerol CHP system in the world for a building retrofit and will have a significant impact in cutting the campus' carbon emission.

"The system has been costed, designed and developed taking advantage of skills and expertise from across the university's faculties and in partnership with our campus facilities management team, headed by Gerry Bildstein."

"It has been a steep learning curve and we will be monitoring all aspects of the CHP system in operation. We will be identifying potential improvements and cost savings to help with the design and development of glycerol-based systems for other locations."

Developing the glycerol CHP system as part of Ecotec 21 has led to new training opportunities in renewable energy applications and research projects for current and future students and researchers.

It has also helped launch the D-Factory -- a €10 million European-funded project that will see the production of glycerol from algae cultivated in non-potable saline water within four years.

Campus carbon emission reduction is one of the current aims of the University of Greenwich, which has been rated first class in the People & Planet Green League.

The glycerol combined heat and power system will reduce the annual carbon footprint of the Medway Campus by 2,600 tonnes per annum -- 43 per cent of the university's target of 6,000 tonnes per annum by 2020, on a 2009/10 baseline. Payback on the system is expected to take seven years.

Following their Medway Campus visit, Ecotec21 partners delivered presentations and led discussions on new approaches to using bio-fuels and reducing carbon emissions for developers, politicians and government representatives. The event was held at The Crystal, in London's Royal Victoria Docks.

Ecotec 21 project partners have included Medway Council, Hampshire County Council, Remade Southeast, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, Aduga, Habitat du Littoral, Agricultures and Territoires Chambre D'Agriculture de la Somme, Agro Transfert and Amiens Metropole.

Story by Public Relations