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.
Performance Programme My plan and diary for keeping fit in 2023 will continue to focus on audaxes (long-distance rides) throughout the year. I'm still undecided about riding Paris-Brest-Paris in August, as it does seem to be a bit of a faff ... (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)
Audax: the home of long-distance cycling If you love recreational cycling, and enjoy the prospect of an all-day ride, then the audax may be just what you need. Audax technically means "daring" or "courage", but you usually won't need either ... (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)
Well done to David Hales and VC Revolution for finding and designing a challenging but well ride-able course on farmland in the very rural countryside of the Essex/Suffolk border. They even built a second concrete bridge to allow a loop across ... (more)
A really good new venue hosted by Diss CC and organised by Dave Wilby. This was at Old Buckenham Country Park, with the excellent OB Cafe acting as event HQ. The course was quite soft after considerable rain during the week, although 100m ... (more)
A great course at a new venue, with lots of lumps and soft grass to sap the legs. Well done St Ives CC! Results are available on the Eastern Cross website. Youth race Photos from the youth race event info Round 7 of the Eastern ... (more)
event info Round 9 of the Eastern Cyclo-Cross League, hosted by Cambridge Youth and CC Ashwell. This is in Milton Country Park, and has lots of muddy climbing. More info is available on the Eastern Cross website. (more)
event info After a gap of just three years, LEL is back at its original slot in the Audax calendar and will take place two years after Paris-Brest-Paris. It will run between August 3 and August 8, and unlike in 2022 there will not be ... (more)
This year's edition runs from Belgium to Greece, with controls in the Italian Alps, southern Slovenia, southern Albania and northern Greece. At around 3700km it's much shorter than in recent years, but is still set to be a huge challenge ... (more)
event info Round 10 of the Eastern Cyclo-Cross League, hosted by West Suffolk Wheelers. This is on heathland, with a lot of draggy sections and a sandpit. Note that the start/finish straight is very bumpy! More info is available ... (more)
event info Round 13 of the Eastern Cyclo-Cross League, hosted by Cambridge Junior CC. This is in Milton Country Park, and has lots of muddy climbing. More info is available on the Eastern Cross website. (more)
event info (more)
event info Round 12 of the Eastern Cyclo-Cross League, hosted by Stowmarket & District CC. This is at Haughley Park, with grassy climbs and drags, and a neat wooded section. More info is available on the Eastern Cross ... (more)