Thursday, April 22, 2010

CHP (Combined Heat Power)

22 April : I did not  include CHP (Combined Heat Power) in an earlier discussion of Carbon Zero solutions because it burns fuel, and heat is the by-product of generating electrical power. Sometimes you get more heat than you really need for a very well insulated building. And if you want heat, then the Sun is a cleaner source of heat, and PV a cleaner source of electric - both require a storage medium - earth or water for the solar heat, and the Grid for PV.
   Most CHP discussion is about applying it in office buildings, libraries, schools etc, and for large buildings they make sense. CHP devices have been miniaturised in size for working in houses, although the thought of having an 'engine' working in my house (the byproduct of which is heat), in a box the size of a large fridge immediately makes me think of which corner of the garage you would put it in.We couldn't possibly need all the heat it would produce, especially in the summer, and I couldn't bear to look out of the windows of the house seeing combustion smoke surging from a flue over the garage. If you need electrical power in the summer, what do you do with all that waste heat?
   In Urban areas where densities are high, and all cannot use PV or heatpumps etc, they have a use. Although the electricity produced is not large, there are no transmission losses in the immediate area, so there can be a benefit. They can be remotely controlled if connected to the broadband - switch on, and vary speed, on demand. And surplus heat can somehow be used to augment chillers, although this is a mystery only understood by refrigeration engineers.

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