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.
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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)
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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)
For the last few years I've been the happy owner of a Garmin Edge Touring Plus cycling computer. It's been completely reliable and the battery still lasts well, but it has been lacking in a couple of areas - namely, power meter support and ... (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)
As in previous years, the 2018 15-mile time trial champs are up and down the A11 between West Carr Rd (near Attleborough) and Wymondham. More info on the CTT website. (more)
Over 100 riders took to the start line for 100 miles of bashing up and down the A11, in warm, calm and sunny conditions. The thermometer was up to the mid-20's by mid-morning, making life and hydration difficult for many riders. event ... (more)
This 209km event is described by organiser Robin Weaver as a rural meander to the Orford coast. It doesn't have any AAA points, and indeed there aren't any hills to speak of in Suffolk, but do be prepared for a few lumpy bits. More info ... (more)
This is a reasonably flat 200km ride on some of the quiet roads in Essex and Hertfordshire. It starts at 8am, from High Easter Village Hall (near Chelmsford). More info on the Audax UK website. (more)
The crowds turned out in force to watch dozens of races up Gas Hill, on a warm and sunny Friday evening! event info The Gas Hill Gasp is a race (between up to five riders at a time) up the short but infamously steep Gas Hill on the ... (more)
Riders enjoyed calm conditions in warm sunshine for this 10-mile effort between Besthorpe and Wymondham. They only had to share the A11 with a light volume of traffic, mostly cars. event info This is a blast up and down the A11, starting ... (more)
Amazona Zoo in Cromer is very small, but the management have done a great job making it interesting with creatures of many shapes and sizes. The tapir and jaguar are the largest creatures there and are interesting to observe, but the leaf ... (more)