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Micro combined heat and power

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Electric Cars Will Not Need New Electric Power Plants?

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers claim if pluggable hybrids don't get recharged until after 10 PM then they will require little or no additional electric power plants.

In an analysis of the potential impacts of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles projected for 2020 and 2030 in 13 regions of the United States, ORNL researchers explored their potential effect on electricity demand, supply, infrastructure, prices and associated emission levels. Electricity requirements for hybrids used a projection of 25 percent market penetration of hybrid vehicles by 2020 including a mixture of sedans and sport utility vehicles. Several scenarios were run for each region for the years 2020 and 2030 and the times of 5 p.m. or 10:00 p.m., in addition to other variables.

The report found that the need for added generation would be most critical by 2030, when hybrids have been on the market for some time and become a larger percentage of the automobiles Americans drive. In the worst-case scenario-if all hybrid owners charged their vehicles at 5 p.m., at six kilowatts of power-up to 160 large power plants would be needed nationwide to supply the extra electricity, and the demand would reduce the reserve power margins for a particular region's system.

The best-case scenario occurs when vehicles are plugged in after 10 p.m., when the electric load on the system is at a minimum and the wholesale price for energy is least expensive. Depending on the power demand per household, charging vehicles after 10 p.m. would require, at lower demand levels, no additional power generation or, in higher-demand projections, just eight additional power plants nationwide.

Since I suspect the world has already reached Peak Oil I expect the shift to electrically-powered vehicles will happen sooner than this study assumes. Also, total electric demand will grow more rapidly as dwindling oil supplies cause a big shift toward electrically powered equipment of all kinds.

The great difference in power plant usage between the afternoon and late night is partly a result of a lack of dynamic pricing. If electric rates for homes varied by the time of day based on relative levels of demand then people and companies would shift more of their electric demand toward the late night even before significant numbers of hybrid vehicles hit the market. Such a shift in demand would cause higher utilization of power plants at night and therefore less excess power generation capacity available to charge electric cars.

Fortunately thermal solar and photovoltaic solar will drop in prices and will become cost competitive sources of day time power. Electric cars will then preferentially get recharged in the morning sun before the peak business demand for electric power in the afternoon.

[PDF]PowerPoint Presentation

Stirling Engine - CCHT

To advance the testing of combined heat and power technologies, IRC and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) have modified the two research houses at CCHT to allow quick installation and testing of micro CHP systems. The performance capability of CCHT as a micro CHP testing tool has been demonstrated and proven by installing and testing an early micro cogeneration. The result is a proven, highly sophisticated "micro CHP-ready" test facility with the capability to assess residential micro CHP systems and their integration into houses, in real-world conditions.

The first type of microCHP system to be evaluated at the centre was the Stirling Engine. The system employs the Stirling cycle to generate heat and power from natural gas. The first demonstration occurred in early 2003, when a Stirling engine was installed in the Test House. This Stirling Engine was fuelled by natural gas and was capable of producing 736 We, and 6.5 kWth. A fourth generation of the engine was later installed in the InfoCentre to provide heating to the conference room and demonstration area in winter 2004/2005

Research Highlight

Development of Micro Combined Heat and Power Technology Assessment Capability at CCHT


Addressing Uncertainties in the Design & Operation of Residential Distributed Energy Resources: Case study of a Micro-CHP System

M. Houwinga ,*, A. N. Ajaha,b, P. M. Herdera, I. Bouwmansa

Energy and Industry Group, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management

First Danish Hydrogen Energy Plant Is Operational


[PDF]Emerging Energy-Saving Technologies and Practices for the

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
envelope insulation, residential micro-CHP using fuel cells, and solid state refrigeration for heat pumps and power. generation. ...


Combined Heat and Power for Saving Energy and Carbon

in Residential Buildings

Tina Kaarsberg, Ronald Fiskum,U.S. Department of Energy;

Andreas Deppe, The George Washington University;

Satish Kumar, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory;

Arthur Rosenfeld, California Energy Commission,

Joseph Romm, Center for Energy and Climate

Buildings account for 12% of the direct fossil fuel consumption and 36% of the

electricity generated and 25 % of the nation's fuel bill.

Micro-CHP Systems for Residential Applications

Final Report June 2006 Prepared by United Technologies Research Center 411 Silver Lane, East Hartford, CT 06108

Prepared for U.S. Department of Energy

National Energy Technology Laboratory

Contract No. DE-FC26-04NT42217

626 Cochrans Mill Road P.O. Box 10940 Pittsburgh, PA 15236-0940

[PDF] 2005 Distributed Energy Peer Review: Micro-CHP System for ...

Interesting slides

Commercialization Starts for Residential Micro-CHP (1799669 ...

This Energy Insights report explores the current status of key residential micro-CHP product manufacturers, both in the United States and abroad. The micro-CHP markets in Europe and Japan are fast expanding. In the United States, meanwhile, the residential CHP market remains in its infancy ? though in the past 12 months, two companies have released commercial products and initial sales are being made. Due to the challenges involved in bringing a technology like micro-CHP to market in the United States, penetration rates will likely be slow to rise. But manufacturers can be encouraged by the accelerated growth trends in Europe and Japan, where thousands of units are being sold annually.

"We expect to see micro-CHP systems gaining ground in the United States over the next five years, especially in the northeastern part of the country, which manufacturers are targeting due to that area's cold climate and more favorable regulatory policies," said Nick Lenssen, practice director, Energy Insights.

[PDF] Thank you Commissioners and distinguished officials

NJ developments

ScienceDirect - Energy Conversion and Management Micro-CHP systems for residential applications


Micro-CHP systems are now emerging on the market. In this paper, a thorough analysis is made of the operational parameters of 3 types of micro-CHP systems for residential use. Two types of houses (detached and terraced) are compared with a two storey apartment.

For each building type, the energy demands for electricity and heat are dynamically determined. Using these load profiles, several CHP systems are designed for each building type. Data were obtained for two commercially available gas engines, two Stirling engines and a fuel cell.

Using a dynamic simulation, including start up times, these five system types are compared to the separate energy system of a natural gas boiler and buying electricity from the grid.

All CHP systems, if well sized, result in a reduction of primary energy use, though different technologies have very different impacts. Gas engines seem to have the best performance. The economic analysis shows that fuel cells are still too expensive and that even the gas engines only have a small internal rate of return (<5%), and this only occurs in favourable economic circumstances.

It can, therefore, be concluded that although the different technologies are technically mature, installation costs should at least be reduced by 50% before CHP systems become interesting for residential use. Condensing gas boilers, now very popular in new homes, prove to be economically more interesting and also have a modest effect on primary energy consumption.

Keywords: Combined heat and power (CHP); Residential; Gas engine; Stirling engine; Fuel cell

The Electric Side of Gas Furnaces

The motors that drive the fans in air handlers use more power than you might think. by Scott Pigg

In much of the United States, space heating is by far the largest energy user in the home, and the venerable forced air furnace is the most popular means to meet this need. Furnaces are present in nearly 50 million homes around the country. It's no wonder that manufacturers and researchers have spent considerable effort improving the combustion efficiency of furnaces-so much so that some models can wring more than 95% of the energy from their input fuel.

But until recently, the push to develop and promote energy-efficient furnaces has largely ignored the fact that furnaces require a lot of electricity to operate. The furnace fan motor is often the largest motor in the home, and it can easily rack up more than 1,000 hours of operation per year in the course of distributing heat in the winter and cooling in the summer. Furnace electricity use is an especially significant expense in homes where the furnace fan is run continuously for air filtration and other reasons.

PERC Supports New Residential Micro-CHP Technology

April 27, 2007 |

Press Release

Washington, DC The Propane Industry and Climate Energy, in partnership with Honda and ECR International, demonstrate a propane-fueled micro-CHP system designed for residential applications. Funded by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), the demonstration of this system puts the propane industry on the cutting edge of residential micro-CHP technology.

"While before this technology was constrained to larger applications, improvements in engine technology and cost have enabled our propane-fueled model to become a realistic replacement for the conventional residential heater," said Eric Guyer, CEO of Climate Energy.

The system utilizes a Honda propane-powered engine to create off-grid power (1.2kW). Coolant in the system pulls heat away from the engine components to preheat the air entering a high-efficiency warm-air furnace, which is released to heat the home (12,000 Btu/hr). High-efficiency auxiliary burners also supplement the heating capacity of the engine.

Operating at up to 90 percent energy efficiency overall with an expected 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as compared to conventional heating appliances and grid-supplied electricity, Climate Energy's residential micro-CHP can provide approximately 50 percent of a typical residential customer's annual electricity needs. For enhanced efficiency excess power can also flow out to the grid when home and electricity consumption falls below 1.2 kW while the generator is operating.

The propane-fueled warm-air system also works to enhance indoor comfort during the heating season. Delivering continuous, low-level heat at a low flow rate to the home reduces temperatures swings and the cycling normally experienced with typical home heating appliances. Constant operation of the system also draws more air through the air filtration system, improving indoor air quality.

Through the PERC supported project, Climate Energy plans to put its innovative system through a 12-month field test ending in 2008, during which it will be monitored to determine run time, overall efficiency, power produced, and thermal output. Expanding even further on the promising micro-CHP concept, Climate Energy also has plans to introduce a micro-CHP system capable of providing emergency power generation to homes during grid outages in the near future.

"The Climate Energy warm-air system positions propane-fueled residential micro-CHP as an exceptionally valued energy choice that has great potential to drive ever greater demand for propane year-round," said Greg Kerr, PERC director of research and development.

Generating electricity at home at Free Radicals - science and sustainability news from the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

> In Australia the numbers are similar and for both the nation and NSW coal exports are major economic contributors. So any government that failed to take these into consideration would be negligent. But around the world there is already a significant backlash against coal and murmers of long term reducation in coal purchasing, how will this effect our economy and our lifestyles.

These are all serious concerns and it is good that the federal government is coming to a realisation that something needs to be done. But had they made a concerted effort even 10 years ago at the point there was significant support for accepting the greenhouse effect - we would be a long way toward creating both alternatives and better ways to use the coal we have. Australia has a long history of leading scienctific and technological advances, a history of celebrated innovation which has been undermined by repeated reductions in spending on research and education.

Significant programs to celebrate science and innovation like National science week have made much of Australian achievements but at the same time funding for research into any alternative to coal has been slashed. So rather than leading in solar energy - something surely Australia is world renowned for - we lag far behind countries like Germany with far fewer sunny days.

Generating Electricity From a Heating Boiler TreeHugger

Powergen, a utility company in the U. K., says it has invented a central heating boiler which generates electricity for households. Powergen is looking for hundreds of customers prepared to buy these personal power stations in a limited launch this winter. When the electricity isn't being used it will be fed back to the grid. The boiler fits under the kitchen counter. It makes a slight humming noise and has an LCD display showing the temperature of the heated water and that its generating 850 watts of electricity. The boiler is based on the Stirling engine, created up by the Scottish inventor Robert Stirling in 1816.
There's a gas burner at the top. It heats up four cylinders, each of which contains nitrogen gas and a piston. The gas expands as it warms up, pushing the pistons down. The pistons are cooled on the central heating water, which passes underneath, so they go up again. The resulting rotation is 1,600 times a minute, turning a generator and producing a constant supply of hot water. It's known as an external combustion engine. The technical name for this particular application is "Micro Combined Heat and Power" or "Micro CHP". The drawback is the cost of the boilers and installation, which currently costs between £2,500 ($4,660) and £3,000 ($5,593). Powergen is hoping that the cost will go down if the system becomes popular. :: Powergen via BBC News [by Justin Thomas]

Recommended Links

It heats. It powers. Is it the future of home energy?

Micro combined heat and power - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Micro combined heat and power or microCHP is an extension of the now well established idea of cogeneration to the single/multi family home or small office building.

Cogeneration by Marathon Engine Systems

POWER-GEN Europe 2008

Domestic Heat and Power units

John Clohesy:
(26/07/05) Domestic Heat and Power units

I have heard that in Denmark they are installing domestic CHP units ( combined heat and electricity generation boilers)very successfully.

Does anyone know where I might be able to locate a source of such boilers in the UK ? We don't need a new boiler yet, but when we do I intend to consider one of these.

It sounds very neat, to use the domestic gas boiler to generate your own electricity, and sell what you don't need back to the grid. I gather the units are very expensive, though.

Anyone got any experience of these ?

RE: Domestic Heat and Power unitsI have just had an answer to my query passed on by from another source, which I paste here, for interest:

"There are a couple of systems using natural gas I know of that are in the testing stage but neither seem to have reached the mass market - yet. Powergen and British Gas are marketing them. There are other fuel cell based systems in testing too, but not so near market.

I can't find much info about the British Gas system but it might be worth a dig around their website or an email.

Powergen is the most advanced with a system on sale for £3000. It uses the New Zealand designed WhisperGen unit. Get more details by going to and typing 'micro chp' in the search box. For a long term strategic view of Powergen's involvement check: "

I would still like to hear from anyone with personal experience of these.


Welcome to freewatt - the future of home energy

Insulating and heating your home efficiently Directgov - Environment and greener living

Insulating and heating your home efficiently

Energy used in homes is responsible for more than a quarter of the UK's carbon emissions, and 80 per cent of this is for heating. Turning down your thermostat, good insulation and more efficient boilers can help tackle climate change, reduce local air pollution, cut fuel bills and can add value to your home.

Take control of your heating

You can cut out a surprising amount of wasted energy with clever use of your central heating controls. These can include:

Taking a few simple steps can pay financial and environmental dividends:

Choose an energy-efficient boiler

More than 80 per cent of home energy use is for heating and hot water, so getting a more energy efficient boiler can make a very big difference. Look out for the energy-saving recommended label when you're choosing a new boiler - it can only be used on the most energy efficient products, usually the top 20 per cent of those available.

Insulate your walls and loft

The best place to start is to check the insulation in your walls and roof - more than half the heat lost in a typical home escapes by one of these routes.

Other ways to keep the heat in

Walls and roofs are the biggest heat loss culprits, but you don't have to stop there:

Switch to renewable energy sources for your heating

Renewable energy can sometimes be an option for both heating and powering homes and can make a significant contribution to reducing climate change effects. Follow the links at the end of this section to find out more on the practicalities of using different renewable energy technologies. The commonest methods are these:

The wider issue

Energy used in the home is responsible for more than a quarter of the UK's carbon emissions. Reducing the amount of energy you use for heating is one of the biggest things you can do to help reduce climate change.

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