A recent study by the Carbon Trust has shown that a micro CHP system are well suited for larger existing homes or houses where it is not cost effective to improve the insulation.
Micro combined heat and power (Micro CHP), are a relatively new technology and is not yet available for the mass market. The units are similar to a gas boiler but they produce electricity. The heat that is generated in the process is then reused to heat the house or the water for domestic consumption.
The study by the Carbon Trust has examined 87 micro CHP units. The study has found that around half of the electricity generated could be sold to the national grid. The consumers taking part in the study were concerned with the reliability of the appliances and a skills shortage for heating installers for installations and maintenance. The shortage in skills is a major issue that would have to be addressed in order to allow CHP take-up to grow in the UK.
The study found that there is large amount of consumer education required to introduce this technology and its merits to the wider public. Public education should cover topics such as how electricity is generated and sold back to the grid, how a tariff system for the CHP would work and what are the main financial and environmental benefits of the technology.
The study used 27 condensing boilers installations as a reference group. The study found out that the annual seasonal efficiencies averaged 4-5% below the SEDBUK rating, suggesting that the boiler installation and the household’s controls settings have an impact on the system efficiency.
The report can be viewed on the Carbon Trust website (www.carbontrust.co.uk). The carbon trust is funded by DEFRA, the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Scottish government, the Welsh Assembly government and Invest Northern Ireland.