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Clean energy

Energy efficient, micro-combined heat and power systems now available for residential use

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 by: Beau Hodai
Tags: clean energy, micro-CHP, residential power


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(NewsTarget) A technology new to the United States is set to be released next month that will allow people nationwide to slash their electricity bills while heating their homes during cold winter months.

The technology was developed in 2000 by Climate Energy, a Massachusetts-based company, and is now completing its trial testing period. Basically, “the micro-combined heat and power system”, or micro-CHP replaces an old-fashioned furnace and harvests energy produced while a natural gas-burning generator produces up to 1.2 kilowatts of electricity.

The Climate Energy system utilizes roughly 90 percent of the energy it produces.

The technology, known as co-generation, has been unavailable in the United States for small-scale residential use, although industrial applications have been used in large apartment buildings.

“There are all kinds of co-generation technologies, but nothing on the micro scale,” said Climate Energy CEO, Eric Guyer. “That’s the big untapped market.”

Bernard Malin, a resident of Braintree, Mass., has been trial testing the micro-CHP system since last winter, and has noticed a marked decrease in his electricity bill and an improvement in his heating quality during that time.

“These gas systems burn really clean, so virtually nothing breaks. So you can really justify it with a little bit of saving on the electric bill,” said Malin. “And just having a little bit more (energy) independence away from everybody else is really nice.”

The price of the micro-CHP system, which expected to have a life of up to 20 years, is $13,500. The micro-CHP will save a residential user between $800 and $1,000 annually, according to Guyer.

In the United Kingdom, where at least four varieties of co-generation technologies are available to residential customers, it has been shown that such co-generation technologies can reduce a household’s greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 25 percent.

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