A major field trial in the Netherlands is aiming to test the performance of micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP) systems in the residential sector.
Dutch companies Eneco and GasTerra have joined forces with the municipality of Ameland to install the micro-CHP systems in 100 houses as a precursor to commercial roll-out of the technology.
The project is thought to be the largest deployment of micro-CHP systems within a specified geographic area and is part of Ameland’s initiative to explore the use of sustainable technologies. It aims to demonstrate the Stirling engine-based units’ functionality in the residential environment and provide information for further optimisation.
The ‘home power plants’ generate both heat and electricity and could result in increased efficiency of gas usage if widely deployed. This will result in reduced carbon dioxide emissions as well as lower energy bills for householders, says Eneco.
The project on the island of Ameland will take place in two stages, starting with the installation of micro-CHP units in 25 rental homes owned by the Ameland Housing Corporation. In 2009 private homeowners will be offered the opportunity to participate in the trials.
The project will also provide local gas fitters with experience of the micro-CHP technology, which is manufactured by MTS Group (Ariston).
According to Eneco, the average Dutch household requires around 3600 kWh/year of electricity. The micro-CHP units can generate up to 2500 kWh of this, resulting in reduced CO2 emissions per household per year of 1000 kg.
Annual energy costs will fall by around EUR300/year per household. Eneco expects the micro-CHP units to be generally available to consumers in 2010.