Companies across the UK are switching on to the innovative Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR) service, which will see National Grid pay companies to use less energy at peak times. If called upon, firms signing up for the scheme will reduce their power demand or switch to their own generators between 4pm and 8pm on weekday evenings between November and February.
Family-run business Industrial Chemicals Ltd (ICL) supplies water treatment chemicals, flocculants, and detergents to blue chip customers across Europe and parts of Asia. ICL has six manufacturing sites in the UK – the largest of them in West Thurrock in Essex, where it has a Chlor alkali plant which produces bleach, caustic soda and hydrochloric acid.
At the heart of the Chlor alkali process is a high demand electrolyser, which has the vital job of passing an electric current through brine to produce chlorine, caustic soda and hydrogen, which are then used to manufacture the end products. The electrolyser is managed by hi-tech software, developed in-house at ICL, which closely monitors and regulates the power consumption.
Darren Sharpe, Energy Projects Manager at ICL, said: “We heard about the Demand Side Balancing Reserve project at an energy efficiency workshop. It was clear our electrolyser process was a perfect fit with what National Grid was looking for.
“We carried out a thorough cost analysis, and were happy with the results. We’re gearing up for the possibility of being called upon when the scheme gets up and running in November. We’ll be able to close down the electrolyser in a controlled way without damaging any of the equipment or reducing product quality. And though we’ll lose production for a short amount of time, we will be compensated by National Grid.
“National Grid has been great to work with. The tender process to apply to take part in the scheme was straightforward, and we received lots of support from National Grid and had regular communication with their team.
“We don’t foresee any problems integrating the DBSR scheme into our operations, and I’d really recommend other businesses with high demand for electricity to get on board too.”