What is Micro CHP? | EnergyLink
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What is Micro CHP?

micro combined heat and power

Micro CHP refers to micro combined heat and power. Similar to cogeneration, or combined heat and power, it is a technology which uses natural gas to generate heat and electricity at the same time. 

Do You Remember What CHP is? 

In short, combine heat and power allows you to capture the heat generated when producing electricity and uses it to heat up your facility. If you wish to learn more about CHP, click here to read our past blog post.

Differences Between Micro CHP and CHP

Just as their names indicate, the most noticeable difference between micro CHP and CHP is the scale of the system. While CHP is mainly used for large industrial or commercial buildings, micro CHP is used for small to medium sized commercial buildings and homes. 

Electricity is the main product in a CHP system, and heat is the main product in a micro CHP system. According to Energy Saving Trust, the typical ratio of heat and electricity generated by a micro CHP system is about 6:1, meaning that micro CHP is designed to meet the thermal needs of the facility while electricity is the byproduct. 

According to Energy Solutions Center, the size of micro CHP is normally between 1kW and 50kW. It can reach 85% or higher energy efficiency, which is more than a regular CHP system. 

Moreover, both micro CHP and CHP can be fueled by natural gas. The system can convert natural gas into heat and power without burning it. And it is able to produce both heat and electricity in the same source. 

Benefits of Micro CHP

According to Energymag, one benefit of micro CHP is its ability to “lessen the stress on provincial power systems,” especially during the time of peak electricity demand. Other benefits of micro CHP, according to Energy Saving Trust, include carbon savings and easy installation. Micro CHP is also an efficient way to use natural gas and secure energy demand by supporting electricity grids. 

Future Development of Micro CHP

Micro CHP is not so widespread in North America as it is in Europe and Japan. In fact, the technology supporting the operation of a micro CHP system still needs more improvement to be more energy efficient. One main obstacle of adapting micro CHP for small business owners and households is the price. In North American, the price of one micro CHP unit is about $12,000 to $13,000, according to Energymag. However, once the technology is refined, the price can be reduced to $6,000. 

Furthermore, in the warmer months, when heat is not needed, electricity will be drawn from the grid instead of the micro CHP system, according to the New York Times

Taking pricing and the demand of heat into consideration, an example of an industry that is especially good for micro CHP technology is food processing companies (restaurants) where heat is always on demand. Depending on the usage of the system, the potential return on investment of micro CHP is less than 7 years. 

If you wish to learn more about micro CHP, or renewable energy in general, click here to speak with our certified engineers today. 

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