Micro combined heat and power (mCHP): environment-friendly generation of heat and electricity
Düsseldorf, Germany, February 3, 2011 - Vaillant, the heating and ventilation specialist and Honda held a joint press conference to present a new micro-combined heat and power (mCHP) system for Europe. It is the first European system with highly efficient gas engine technology for use in single-family homes. The mCHP system simultaneously produces environment-friendly heat and electricity and will be available in Germany by mid-year under the product name Vaillant ecoPOWER 1.0.
Dr Carsten Voigtländer, Chief Executive Officer of the Vaillant Group commented, "Today, together with Honda, we are pleased to be able to present our new micro-CHP system, one of the world's most efficient systems for generating heat and electricity in properties. With the ecoPOWER 1.0, which was developed especially for optimal operation in smaller residential buildings, we are opening a wide market for the decentralisation of heat and power generation. The new micro-CHP system is our answer to the demand for economical energy use, resource saving and ecological responsibility," The highly efficient technology can be used not only in new buildings but also in existing housing.
The micro-combined heat and power system can make a significant contribution to decentralised energy supply in Germany where there are approximately 12 million suitable houses.
"We are proud that with our long-term expertise in the combined heat and power business we are making a decisive contribution to the European roll-out of micro-CHP systems for family houses,” said Mr.Takuji Yamada, Chief Operating Officer of Honda’s Power Products Operations. "Due to our cooperation with the leading heating technology maker Vaillant, we are expanding our activity in the micro-CHP business to the German market.”
Decentralised cogeneration produces electricity and heat in the home where it is consumed. This differs from electricity generation in conventional power stations where up to 60 per cent of the energy is wasted due to heat loss. This makes CHP especially efficient; conventional CHP systems achieve efficiency of up to 90 per cent. The Honda mCHP unit, the harmonised system components, and the smart energy management help the ecoPower 1.0 systems to deliver an outstanding overall efficiency of 92 per cent.
It will also reduce the CO2-balance of the energy supply of smaller properties under ideal usage-conditions by approximately 50 per cent compared to conventional heating systems
Using Honda’s long experience in the Japanese market, a new mCHP unit for the German market was developed. The compact module produces 1 kW electrical and 2.5 kW thermal output. The electrical efficiency as an indicator of the economical operation of the micro-CHP unit exceeds 26.3 per cent, outperforming all comparable micro-CHP systems in the lower output range. The ecoPOWER 1.0 can supply up to 70 per cent of the electricity needed by an average family house each year. Aside from a Honda mCHP module and a heat recovery module, the system also consists of a 300-litre multi-function storage cylinder and a wall-hung gas-fired condensing boiler for peak loads and system controls. The output of the peak-load heating appliance is variable and depends on the need for heat of the respective property.
The German Federal Government promotes decentralised heat-power cogeneration through the CHP Act which came into effect in January 2009. The aim of this act is to increase the electricity ratio of heat-power cogeneration in Germany from current levels (around 15%) to 25 per cent by 2020. Customers can receive many benefits from the use of mCHP. Due to the efficient use of energy they save on electricity costs and are also less affected by rises in electricity prices because a large part of the power they need is produced at home.
Excess electricity is fed back into the supply grid. Under the act, the total amount of electricity generated with the ecoPOWER 1.0 is supported with incentives over a 10 year period. Users will benefit from a CHP bonus (currently 5.11 euro cents per kilowatt hour) and will also be free from electricity tax for an unlimited period. Whether the electricity is consumed at home or fed into the grid has no bearing on these benefits. Electricity fed into the grid is rewarded in addition to the CHP bonus and is remunerated on the basis of the current electricity price. In addition, system users also benefit from a refund of the fuel tax for the natural gas used and the charges for using the grid. From March 2011 onwards, property owners who refurbish their property, can take part in a scheme by the KfW German Development Bank where up to 5 per cent of the investment costs for installing a new mCHP unit are subsidised.
Both Honda and Vaillant have contributed their experience and expertise to this project. Vaillant developed all the hydraulics for the heating system and the control and connection technologies. For the management of the whole system a system regulator was designed to ensure economical and demand-based use of energy. For the first time, Honda used an Extended Expansion Linkage Engine (EXLink) in its mCHP Module, helping to significantly improve the efficiency of the unit. In Japan and the USA, Honda has offered their micro-CHP units for use in family houses since 2003. So far, more than 100,000 of these units have been sold and installed in both countries. Honda has used the production know-how it has gained from this for the benefit of this project. Vaillant is one of the European market leaders in the CHP sector with gas engine-driven mCHP systems for cogeneration in large family houses, blocks of flats and business premises.
Vaillant offers its customers worldwide environment-friendly and energy-saving heating and ventilation systems that increasingly are using renewable energies. The product portfolio encompasses solar thermal and photovoltaic installations, heat pumps, wood pellet boilers, ventilation units for low-energy houses, combined heat and power systems, highly-efficient heating systems based on fossil fuels, and intelligent controls.