Gen-C’s pay-as-you-go CHP support halves Springvale Energies’ service bills

Gen-C has helped on-farm AD operator Springvale Energies break free from a monthly CHP service contract. By upgrading the control panel, overhauling the engine, and supplying parts and servicing on a pay-as-you-go basis, Gen-C has not only given farmer Nigel Bloom control of his own engines but has also slashed his service and maintenance costs by 50%.

Springvale Energies Plant Manager Richard Gagg (L) and Warren Vessey of GenV (R)

The energy generated by Springvale Energies’ 1.1 MW anaerobic digestion plant in Retford, Nottinghamshire, is converted into heat and power for use at the on-site log cabin retirement park, café and restaurant by two 600 kW MWM gas engines. The reliable and efficient running of these engines is crucial to the success of the diversified farming business, so when owner Nigel Bloom purchased them, he also signed up to the supplier’s servicing contract. Despite the £7,000 monthly cost, Nigel and his team often faced delays for their engines to be restarted whenever a simple issue such as bad weather caused a temporary engine shutdown.

“For every hour that our engines aren’t operating, we’re losing money,” explains Plant Manager Richard Gagg. “It was quicker to fix any minor issues ourselves, rather than wait hours for an engineer to arrive.”

A fresh approach

As well as the monthly bills and costly delays, when one of the engines neared the end of its 48,000-hour contract, the service provider told Nigel that it required a full E70 refurbishment service, at an additional charge of £150,000. Unwilling to pay out yet more money, Nigel sought advice from fellow AD operators, one of whom recommended Gen-C.

Firstly, James Thompson, Gen-C’s Managing Director, commissioned his service partner, Warren Vessey from GenV, to inspect the engine and confirm that it was in a suitable condition to delay the E70 service. James then recommended replacing the existing control panel with an open-access Motortech version, featuring the latest ComAp technology. This would give Nigel and his team full control over their own engine, enabling them to dial in remotely to monitor their engine’s performance, diagnose any faults, fix them instantly, and restart their CHP. James also suggested upgrading the fuel mixer and ignition controller with new Motortech parts especially suited to biogas, to increase the engine’s efficiency further.

Value for money

Gen-C began the project the following week, taking just four days to complete the work. From the moment the engine was switched back on, it ran solidly until the next service without a hitch.

“The new control panel is so simple to use that, should there be any problems, we’re confident we could correct most things ourselves. However, James included six months’ free remote monitoring and fault rectification for anything we’re unable to deal with in-house,” says Plant Manager Richard Gagg.

With Gen-C also supplying CHP spares, and ongoing servicing handled by James’ partners at GenV, Springvale Energies have halved their engine maintenance bills.

“By breaking away from our CHP service contract and switching to pay-as-you-go, we have cut our service and maintenance costs by 50% over the course of a year,” reveals Nigel. “We’re now in the driving seat, managing our engines ourselves and getting true value for money.”