This is a heating technology that generates heat and electricity at the same time; most systems use mains gas or LPG as a heating fuel, although they can also be powered by oil or biofuels. Gas and oil are not renewable energy sources however using a micro CHP is more efficient than just burning fossil fuels or getting electricity form the grid.
A typical domestic system could generate up to 1KW of electricity per hour once warmed up, which would be enough to power the lighting and appliances in a typical home. Any electricity generated and not used can be exported back to the grid.
Micro-CHP systems are similar to a domestic boiler; the only difference is they are able to generate electricity while they are heating water. Servicing costs and maintenance are estimated to be similar to a standard boiler – although a specialist will be required.
There are 3 main micro-CHP technologies. The difference is the way in which they generate electricity, which can be done in the following ways:
The Benefits of Micro CHP
Electricity generation as a by-product of heat
When the micro-CHP is generating heat, the internal engine or fuel cell will also generate electricity to be used in your home (or exported).
By generating electricity on-site you are saving significant amounts of carbon as there are minimal losses occurring as compared with the grid.
Micro-CHP is eligible for Feed-in Tariffs and you will earn 10.5p for each kWh generated by your system. You will also receive 3.1p for each kWh you export.
Installation is easy
There is very little complexity to installing a micro-CHP unit. If you already have a conventional boiler then a micro-CHP unit should be able to replace it as it’s roughly the same size. Given the electricity generated, an electrician will also be involved with the installation but this is something the installer will organise.