MicroCHP systems can function in two modes: heat led, where the primary energy is heat (hot water) with electricity as a by-product; or electric led, where electricity is primary and heat is a by-product. Larger microCHP systems (5Kwe or greater) are heat led because they generate more heat than electricity and therefore the user benefits from “free” electricity. On the other hand, smaller systems (1-2Kwe) are electric led and used in smaller residences with hot water as the by-product so as not to need a hot water heater.
MicroCHP products can generate two forms of energy (heat and electricity) on a scale that can provide a residence or a small commercial building with enough power and/or heat to be self-sufficient. In some cases it can even generate more power than is consumed—thus complementing the grid.
III Equipment Options
MicroCHP Equipment is available today as Engine-Driven and Fuel Cell based systems. Emerging products are underdevelopment incorporating Stirling Engines - an external combustion engine and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) - a boiler heats an organic fluid of high molecular mass and low boiling point that produces a vapor which is used to rotate a scroll expander that turns a generator.
1. Equipment Manufacturer Database
2. Distributed Generation Consortium