The combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Northwich, Cheshire, is one of the largest such schemes in the UK. In September 2013, Tata Chemicals Ltd took ownership of the asset and E.ON now manages the operation and maintenance of the plant under and Operational and Maintenance contract managed by Business Heat (CHP).
The plant has a thermal capacity of 400 MWth and is capable of generating 130MW of electricity. Two sites are currently supplied by the CHP plant, Lockstock and Winnington.
The main CHP plant consists of two gas turbines, two heat recovery boilers and a steam turbine and, for security of supply, also has stand-by boiler capacity. The natural gas fuelling the plant is supplied through an 11km underground pipeline. The large quantity of steam produced is utilised in Tata's manufacturing processes and a proportion is returned to the CHP plant as water condensate.
The Lostock site is supplied with steam from the plant via two steam mains running for 5km. At the site, steam is utilised in the chemical process and some is passed through a steam turbine to generate more electricity, and to produce a lower pressure steam for process use. Again, a proportion of the steam used is returned to the CHP plant as condensate via another pipeline.