Do you want to learn more about business microgeneration? Businesses can take measures to generate their energy if they wish, instead of using the national grid to supply them with electricity and gas. This is done by harnessing energy from different renewable energy sources and converting them into energy that a business can use for their heating, lighting, electronic devices and many more.
What is Microgeneration?
Microgeneration is denoted as electricity and heat production on a micro-scale, coming from a renewable and sustainable energy source.
There are two subtypes: grid-tied and off-grid.
The grid-tied microgeneration system is, as its name suggests, tied to the grid. It is the most popular and safer type of system, as it provides more security. When the business is not generating enough electricity, it can simply rely on the national grid as a backup option and will never go without; the critical load, appliances selected that always need energy, have a backup in case of no energy production. Conversely, suppose the business has generated too much electricity. In that case, it can sell the excess to the national grid and thus make money from the electricity it is not using, which is a mutually beneficial system.
An off-grid microgeneration system is not connected to the national grid. Still, instead, a battery where the excess energy can be stored and used when electricity cannot be produced, for instance, on days when it is not as windy or the sun is not hot. Whilst this is still beneficial, the battery has a specific capacity, and any energy over this cannot be stored.
Examples of Microgeneration
One of the most common sources of energy generation is small-scale solar power. This is where many solar panels lined on the roof convert energy from the sun into electrical energy that can be used for business use, through photovoltaic cells that take the sunlight and turn it into electricity that flows through the electric field created. While solar panels are usually only 20% efficient, this is partially due to the limited sunlight at night. Even though they do not produce massive amounts of electricity, they can still be advantageous to businesses that only require small amounts of energy. Additionally, they can be used along with other energy sources to work simultaneously and produce more.
Another popular energy generation method is wind power. The process is relatively simple but only beneficial if your business is located in areas with high wind speeds. Once sufficient wind hits the turbine, the turbine will start turning, and the wind energy will be converted to electricity and create power. Turbines can be horizontal or vertical, with the latter being more efficient, less noisy, smaller, and easier to maintain. Likewise, the location of the turbine is of utmost importance to how much power you generate.
The most efficient types of wind turbine are the offshore wind, as they are situated by the sea where the differences in pressure of the ocean and sea create a strong breeze that can turn the turbines. There are no obstacles to slow down the wind like there would be closer to civilisation. Alternatively, many wind turbines can also be built on land but should be placed in an area that receives strong winds to maximise efficiency.
Lastly, the distributed wind is placed nearer to the place the electricity will be used up. For instance, if your business is built on many acres of land and there is space, wind turbines can be placed on the site; whilst this may be the smallest-scale option, it is still effective.
Heat pumps are local ways to supply energy for your business. Fundamentally, they extract any heat from the ground or the atmosphere and compress it, making the temperature drastically rise, and as air is passed over this coolant, it is heated. They can also cool the building in the summertime by taking the hot air and moving it outside.
The components include a pump, condenser, evaporator and expansion valve, all moving as a loop to transfer air inside to outside and vice versa. They are by far the most efficient source of renewable energy. They can reach efficiencies of over 100%, reaching up to 500%, and being easy to maintain and cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives.
Biomass consists of animal and plant material that has stored up chemical energy that can be converted into electricity in several ways. Chemically, it can be burnt to produce heat energy to warm the building in low temperatures or through pyrolysis, a series of thermal decomposition reactions, creating oils or gases used in the wind power process to power the company. In addition, it can be fermented to produce ethanol, grain alcohol which, when mixed with gasoline, can be used at gas pumps to fuel cars or others.
Lastly, hydroelectric power can convert the kinetic energy from water and turn it into electricity. A turbine is placed into the water and spans when water comes into contact with it, connecting to the generator and creating electric energy, then transmitted to the business. This can be difficult if there is not a reservoir of water locally but is almost 95% effective.
Microgeneration in businesses is very important. There is the security provided by knowing you can provide your electricity and gas and not rely on an external source. It is cheaper than buying it from an energy supplier as rates vary, and finding a provider can prove tricky. All in all, using renewable resources is more advantageous to the environment as no greenhouse gases are emitted, unlike when fossil fuels are burnt, and does not contribute to the heating of the atmosphere through trapping infrared radiation. Whilst it may be unreliable at times, having many different sources of energy can combat this.
If you would like to find out more about microgeneration, you can do so here.
Other useful links about Business Energy
Are Charities Entitled to Energy Discounts?
Switching Business Utilities
Opus Energy for your Business
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