A barrier and techno-economic analysis of small-scale bCHP (biomass combined heat and power) schemes in the UK

Daniel G. Wright, Prasanta K. Dey, John Brammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


bCHP (Biomass combined heat and power) systems are highly efficient at smaller-scales when a significant proportion of the heat produced can be effectively utilised for hot water, space heating or industrial heating purposes. However, there are many barriers to project development and this has greatly inhibited deployment in the UK. Project viability is highly subjective to changes in policy, regulation, the finance market and the low cost fossil fuel incumbent. The paper reviews the barriers to small-scale bCHP project development in the UK along with a case study of a failed 1.5MWel bCHP scheme. The paper offers possible explanations for the project's failure and suggests adaptations to improve the project resilience. Analysis of the project's: capital structuring contract length and bankability; feedstock type and price uncertainty, and plant oversizing highlight the negative impact of the existing project barriers on project development. The research paper concludes with a discussion on the effects of these barriers on the case study project and this industry more generally. A greater understanding of the techno-economic effects of some barriers for small-scale bCHP schemes is demonstrated within this paper, along with some methods for improving the attractiveness and resilience of projects of this kind.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332–345
Number of pages14
Early online date17 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014


Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Energy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Wright, DG, Dey, PK & Brammer, J 2014, 'A barrier and techno-economic analysis of small-scale bCHP (biomass combined heat and power) schemes in the UK' Energy, vol 71 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2014.04.079

Funding: ESRC [ES/H035818/1]; EREBUS (Engaging Research for Business Transformation) Cluster in the West Midlands region of the UK.


  • biomass CHP case study
  • project barriers
  • project development
  • techno-economic analysis
  • levelised energy cost

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