What is Micro CHP? – Combined Heat and Power Units

by Steve on November 30, 2011

Electricians are at the forefront of the energy saving and renewable energy revolution. Those training in renewables installation and gaining skills in low energy solutions will be best placed to take advantage of the new market. This is all good stuff but the up take of these new technologies relies on government investment and ‘incentives’ is the key to getting things rolling to lead the UK to a green and prosperous future.

Will the UK government raise the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for micro-CHP to give incentives and help accelerate the take up of new home boiler replacement technology? Elinore Mackay, Editor of Electrical Review.co.uk finds the facts and gives her verdict.


Micro-CHP Unit

Three trade associations representing the micro-CHP industry have claimed ‘green jobs’ can be safeguarded with boosted government subsidies for renewable energy generation.

The Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA), the Heating and Hot water Information Council (HHIC) and the Micropower Council (MPC), have asked the government to raise the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for micro-CHP to accelerate the take up of home boiler replacement technology.

A spokesperson for the three associations said “Manufacturers and energy suppliers have invested hundreds of millions of pounds to bring micro-CHP to world markets. Much of the development work, and a large part of the manufacturing, are being done in the UK. It is essential that the product is a success in the UK for this work to stay here.”

When the FiT was set up the industry asked for 15p a kilowatt hour but received a tariff of 10p. The government also set a cap on 30,000 units receiving FiT at which point it would review the situation.

“The industry wants the 30,000 unit cap removed because it creates uncertainty for investors” the industry spokesman continued, “ and a raising of the small tariff for micro-CHP to at least 15p a kilowatt hour (kWh) would also signal the government’s desire to nurture this fledgling high-tech industry and keep jobs in Britain”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said: “We aim to release the second consultation on Phase II of the Feed-in Tariff by
the end of this year – this will include proposals for tariffs for all non PV technologies, including micro CHP.”

Don’t hold your breath.

Elinore Mackay, Editor  elinorem@electricalreview.co.uk

What is Micro-CHP?

Micro-CHP stands for Micro Combined Heat and Power. The main output of a micro-CHP system is heat (usually for water heating), with some electricity generation, at a typical ratio of about 6:1 for domestic appliances.

Micro-CHP systems are similar in size and shape to ordinary, domestic boilers and can be wall hung or floor standing. The only difference to a standard boiler is that a Combined Heat Power unit is able to generate electricity whilst heating water. In most households a micro-CHP unit should be able to replace a conventional boiler as it’s roughly the same size. However, the installer must be approved under the Micro-generation Certification Scheme.

Domestic micro-CHP systems are currently powered by mains gas or LPG but future models may use oil or bio-liquids.

Note- Although gas and LPG are fossil fuels rather than renewable energy sources, the technology is still considered to be a low carbon technology because it can prove more efficient than just burning a fossil fuel for heat and getting electricity from the national grid.

More info from the Energy Saving Trust

Electrician’s Blog.co.uk

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