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Natural History Museum saves £11 million through in-house CHP

The Natural History Museum is celebrating racking up more than £11 million in savings by adopting various on-site energy generation technologies.

The site partnered with Vital Energi to install a ‘trigeneration scheme’ comprising a 1.9MW combined heat and power (CHP) generator, waste heat boiler and two absorption chillers totalling 1.5MW.

The system compensates for the low baseload of heating requirements in summer by using the excess heat to provide cooling for the museums’ collections.

Nick Gosling, group sales and strategy director at Vital Energi, said: “The installation at the Natural History Museum now has a decade-long track record and has outperformed its guaranteed carbon and financial savings in every year of operation.

“This is now a fantastic case study for long-term energy infrastructure upgrades and we are honoured to celebrate the NHM’s achievements with the rest of the industry in such an iconic venue.”

The Natural History Museum has a long history of energy generation, dating back to the 1880s when it housed a coal-fired plant directly beneath its library. Until 2000 it provided additional heating for The Victoria & Albert Museum, Imperial College and The Science Museum, and a re-investment in its energy capacity in 2006 is now paying dividends.

In the 10 years since the museum installed a combined electricity, heating and cooling system, it has saved 15,000 tonnes of CO2. The specific heating and cooling requirements associated with preserving the collections are catered for, and the energy needs of both the Natural History Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum are being met.