This is actually a pretty old concept. It's immensely logical to be efficient in how one uses energy. Why use Energy source A) to heat your house and Energy Source B) to put electricity into your house, if you can use Energy Source C) to do both (Combined heating and power, or "cogeneration")?
The obvious sense of Co-generation makes it all the more depressing that it's been so unusual to implement in widepsread practice. A famous exception is Sweden, where waste heat as a byproduct from electiricty production is widely used to heat local homes (it is piped from small local energy generation plants straight into people's homes).
In the UK, interest in combined heating and power has mostly centred on single-property situations -- what can I get installed in my building that will generate both heat and electricity? Even British Gas is in on this emerging trend and new technology, with their Ecogen boiler.
There are several machines on the market, intended for domestic installation, which will use various fuels to produce electricity with conveniently accessible heat as a useful waste byproduct. These devices vary considerably in price, power output, fuel source and technological sophistication. Some heat water as well as providing general heating and electricity to the house.
You need access to a consistent supply of fuel (typically conventional fossil fuels). So as well as a simple electricity line into your house plus those separate back up systems for heating rooms and water, you'd also have to find storage space for the CHP system, which may requrie a separate distribution system (pipes) for spreading heat around the property.
It's highly debateable about whether domestic CHP systems are going to be cost-effective as they claim, given the high investment costs and the loss of scale when buying raw materials in (you might pay per energy unit because you are buying in smaller quantitites than the big energy producers can). Using solar or wind energy as part of a CHP set up seems unlikely to be able to meet enough of a single household's needs (not enough sun or wind).
Nevertheless, most CHP systems are eligible for the Government's Feed-In tariff scheme, which means that some of the excess electricity generation can be sold back to the National Grid to create a small subsidy to your initial investment.
As things like CHP boilers are fairly new, we don't have a good sense of how reliable the technology is -- whether the devices are likely to be well-made and requiring only low maintenance costs over the years. There are unknown risks when adopting new technology.
My Broadband (more)
It's a simple out-and-back early season fitness-checker on the Watton Road between Hingham and Watton. Expect cold cross-winds on this exposed road. More info on the CTT website. (more)
This is on the B50/20 course, which isn't one I'm familiar with. However it's probably on the A11, with HQ around Attleborough. More info (and online entry) on the CTT website. (more)
Performance Programme This is my plan and diary for a structured, quality year of cycling in 2017. The plan consists of target events and training schedule; the diary breaks down a recent run of play, with some attempt at analysis for future ... (more)
This is a feed of everything I'm interested in, filtered and categorised according to my choices. Channels: Twitter (multiple accounts) Facebook groups Facebook pages Google+ LinkedIn Flickr Youtube Website RSS Webpage updates ... (more)
John Swindells I am a career professional in software development, becoming proficient in various systems and languages since 1992. In recent years I have been especially active in web and mobile app projects. I stepped down in April ... (more)
The Crivit® product range If you're looking for outdoors clothing or accessories, you could do worse than to browse the Crivit® range. Crivit® is a brand of German supermarket Lidl's, so it's most convenient for UK customers to head down ... (more)
Getting the right amount of heating oil delivered into your oil tank is a matter of trust. We trust that the oil supplier is honest and operating a correctly calibrated gauge on their delivery lorries. All it takes is for the gauge to over ... (more)
This is four laps of the A11 between Wymondham and Snetterton, starting from Spooner Row. More info (and online entry) on the CTT website. (more)
This is mostly set on the A11 between Wymondham and Larling (near Thetford, starting and finishing on the Watton Road at Hingham. More info (and online entry) on the CTT website. (more)
This is a single circular lap around the back roads and A roads in the fens around Ely. Expect the wind to cause problems, and wrap up warm! More info (and online entry) on the CTT website. (more)
This is a couple of laps of the A143 between Harleston and the A146 roundabout, starting at Ditchingham. More info (and online entry) on the CTT website. (more)
This is a couple of laps of the A143 between Harleston and the A146 roundabout, starting at Harleston. More info (and online entry) on the CTT website. (more)
This is three laps of a rectangular circuit between Fakenham, Hillington, Gayton and and Weasenham. Note The Tricycle Association is also running an event. Note the midday start time - no horrifically early alarm needed for this one! ... (more)
We've gone for a large delivery of high quality firewood, from R Bell of North Walsham. This is 3.2m3 of kiln-dried firewood, costing us Â£230, and at first appearances it certainly looks like the real deal! Really dry and dense logs ... (more)