British Gas has announced that it plans to develop a household boiler that is powered by fuels cells. The new domestic boiler, a major improvement on current renewable technologies, will produce up to two and half tones less of carbon dioxide per year compared with a standard boiler. According to British Gas, the new boiler will cut a typical household’s carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50 per cent. The new boiler will be an outcome of British Gas’ collaboration with Ceres Power.
British Gas’ parent, Centrica PLC has agreed to buy new shares in Ceres Power Holdings PLC, and agreed to provide funding for research and development activities leading to the development and commercial launch of the new boiler.
The new boiler, powered by fuel cells, is of the Combined Heat Power (CHP) type. The boiler generates heat and electricity through an electrochemical reaction, thus reusing the heat generated during the electricity generating cycle. This way the boiler eliminates heat that normally is being wasted under normal circumstances. The new boiler will generate the electricity and heat directly within the home further minimizing heat waste and improving the water and space heating results for the home.
The fuel cell to power the boiler is wafer thin and is about the size of a CD case. The cells are made from stainless steel with thin ceramic coating and are stuck together to make powerful generators to power the boiler. Each such fuel cell can provide enough power to meet the demand of a typical household in the UK.
With strict targets set by the government for CO2 reduction (reducing emissions by 26 to 32 per cent by 2020), the new boiler can herald a new opportunity for the plumbing and heating trade and the greater population to pull its weight towards meeting the target.
Plumbers and heating engineers will be able to argue that not only is the new boiler eco-friendly, but also it is highly attractive financially. The boiler can save approximately 25 per cent of a typical household’s energy cost annually, owing to the boiler greater efficiency.
To learn more about renewable technologies available, visit our Renewable Energy Section.