A Powerful Solution
25 Jan 2010
An award-winning new home energy system could help us achieve a brighter, cleaner future say its developers, Disenco.
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An award-winning new home energy system could help us achieve a brighter, cleaner future say its developers, Disenco. Their unique alternative to the standard boiler is ideal for home use or small businesses. It is described as a micro-Combined Heat and Power (m-CHP) appliance and is based on a kinematic Stirling engine design. This engine drives a generator to produce 3 kW of mains voltage electricity and is capable of exporting this electricity back to the grid. Not only this its inventive process also provides heating and hot water. Its producers hope that each unit will provide up to 50% of a standard domestic user’s electric supply and between 60–70% of their peak load heating and hot water needs.
This could significantly reduce a household’s carbon emissions, as the generator is extremely efficient. “Unlike an internal combustion engine, where combustion takes place inside the cylinder at low efficiencies,” explain its developers, “the Stirling engines are external combustion engines operating at high efficiencies. The cycle is sealed and contains a constant volume of working gas — commonly air, hydrogen or in our case helium. The cycle works by expanding and contracting the volume of gas caused by temperature differentials at either end of the engine and hence the engine has a hot and a cold end. The heating and cooling is supplied to the engine externally. The current heat source is provided by an external gas fired burner, transmitting heat through a heat exchanger to the volume of gas in the engine. Cooling is supplied by water cooled heat exchangers.”
Heat recovered to a water circuit is transferred to an external water thermal store for use in domestic heating. 12-18kW of thermal heat will be available for domestic heating needs, which combined with other generated hot water storage gives upto 25kW of thermal input into the water system.
It is fair to say that the system still relies on carbon emitting combustibles — in most areas this will be the mains gas supply but the requirements to effectively supply ‘combined power’ should be radically less than with a conventional gas boiler, that only gives heat and hot water and no electric.
It is also hoped that in the near future, designs will include units that will run on renewable energy sources to replace mains gas. This will make the appliances even more sustainable and will be ideal for areas without a mains gas supply. With greater than 90% overall efficiency, low noise levels, minimal maintenance and no structural or specific planning permission requirements, the micro-Combined Heat and Power system could be set to replace thousands of standard boilers countrywide.
For more details and technical information please visit their website:
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