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The future of standby power in hospitals

Chris Connors, head of Sales (South) at DTGen, discusses the future of standby power generation in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

When I started out in standby generation, the specification for NHS installations was known as C44. I kept a well-thumbed copy in the office. It has long since been replaced with HTM 06. I can’t even find a copy of C44 on the internet any more, so if anyone can send me a copy ‘just for old times’ sake’, I would welcome it. HTM 06 is now my ‘go to’ for standby generation in hospitals, although I must confess to knowing the document inside out – to the extent that I could possibly go on Mastermind with it as my specialist subject.

Despite the years, there has been little movement away from the traditional standby solution of diesel prime movers. The likes of Perkins, Cummins, and MTU, are just three regular stalwart engine brands often seen in the darkest recesses of a genset plantroom. To be fair to HTM 06, mention is made of ‘alternative or supplementary electrical energy sources’ being considered as secondary power arrangements, but the direction of travel in 2021 still appears to be very much a diesel journey. Of course, many NHS sites have moved towards combined heat and power operating in parallel with the local grid, but this is not to be confused with the need for standby power when all else has failed. So, why are we reluctant to move away from the norm? Why is diesel still the ‘go to’? Well, it’s simple: autonomy. HTM 06 speaks of a 200-hour fuel autonomy required on site, and provided that diesel is being delivered to the generator set, then the FM engineer can sleep soundly in his / her bed knowing that the standby generator will operate in an emergency without relying upon the sun shining, the wind blowing, or battery banks being fully charged. Some of the aforementioned have been spoken of as alternatives to standby power generation, but have never achieved any traction.

Some ‘bad press’

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Upcoming Events

The Fire Safety Event

NEC, Birmingham
25th - 27th April 2023

Facilities Show

ExCeL London
16th - 18th May

NAHFO Conference 2023

Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-Avon
5th - 7th June 2023

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Manchester Central
10th - 11th October 2023

Access the latest issue of Health Estate Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Health Estate Journal app from your device's App store

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