Autoliv, Airbags International CHP plant

Autoliv, the world’s largest automotive safety supplier contracted Clarke Energy to deliver a containerised combined, heat and power (CHP) plant at their production facility in Congleton, Cheshire. The 48,528 sqm factory manufactures 24/7, producing airbags for the world’s leading motor vehicles. Commissioned in early 2017, the CHP is estimated to produce 70% of the site’s electrical demand. Critical heat is generated for the facilities most heat intensive process. Significant financial savings are being met, coupled with a reduction of approximately 4,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The factory began operation approximately 20 years ago, relying on boilers to meet extensive heat demands. The main driver for considering CHP was its cloth washing process. A process that requires vast amounts of hot water for removing silicones present on fibres, used for the production of airbags. An upgraded cloth washing system was introduced, and CHP designed to meet the machine’s process heat requirements. This heat is provided in the form of hot water and steam. A steam boiler was installed and packaged off site in a bespoke steel container.

The CHP was integrated into the facility’s existing infrastructure, producing power in-line with its 4MW electrical peak demand.

Clarke Energy undertook a feasibility study, assessing the site’s energy consumption. Based upon the information provided, one of GE’s Jenbacher JMS616 reciprocating gas engines was installed. A programmed weekend shutdown was co-ordinated to coincide with the factory’s annual maintenance. Coordination, avoided unnecessary disruption to the factory’s production processes.

The CHP produces a nominal electrical output of 2,679kWe, with an electrical efficiency of 43.7%. The plant generates at 11kV, 3 phase 50Hz, with all synchronising equipment complying with UK G59/3 requirements. The engine exhaust connects to a waste heat steam boiler with economiser, generating 1,820 kg/hr at 12 barg. The engine is packaged off site and supplied in an acoustically lined steel container.

The installation:

  • Significantly reduces operational costs
  • Delivers carbon savings of ~4,500 t CO2 per year
  • Delivers reliable power for a continuous manufacturing operation

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