Micro-CHP – New Chances for the Craft Industry


The micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP) is regarded by energy experts as one of the key technologies for the reduction of CO2 emissions in the medium term. Micro-CHP systems have especially in smaller homes an enormous potential for energy and CO2 savings. As a complete replacement for conventional heater (eg. boiler or combination boilers) a micro-CHP system can not only produce the entire heat for an average four-person household, but also two thirds of the electricity itself - with up to 40% energy and CO2 savings. In Western Europe alone, around 6 million boilers are replaced in the existing housing and building stock. Thus, there is an immense market potential for the micro-CHP as a "power-generating heater".

However, to use the great potential of micro-CHP to reduce CO2 emissions, it is necessary to reduce the investment costs by seeking a high volume production. By doing so, large numbers of micro-CHP units are placed on the market over a relatively short period of time (8 to 10 years).

With the interplay of various modules, the micro-CHP concept allows the power company to build a flexible power plant, the so-called virtual power plant. This allows, similar to a large power plant, to provide back-up service when needed and thereby represents a fitting addition to the temporary and seasonal fluctuations in energy supply of renewable energy. However, for the efficient management of such a virtual power plant building an appropriate hardware and software for the control and regulation of the modules, as well as an intelligent energy management is necessary. The corresponding system technology and software is currently tested and optimized for several micro-cogeneration modules in this project.

However, since the installation, operation and management of micro-CHP systems (which are basically small plants!) are major technical and logistical challenges. It requires an extensive concept for the designer and installer who first need to become familiar with the new control and management technology in order to step up the introduction of micro-CHP.

The system provides an operator (utilities, operating company, building society, etc.) who is able to perform a variety of complex practical tasks in a quick and cost effective manner. This project will use a variety of CHP plants explicitly constructed for a virtual power plant, while different modes of operation are tested and optimized. In addition to this, the requirements for the training of installers in the field of micro-CHP technology are created on the basis of 2 micro-CHP systems in the CHP Training Centre of the Chamber of Osnabrück-Emsland.

At the end of the project the results and development prospects of micro-cogeneration technology and the virtual power plant for different audiences will be presented in following workshops.

Project objectives:
  • Development of a decentralized and environment friendly energy services:
    Creation and implementation of a concept plan for a virtual power plant
  • Creation of new field of operations
    • For craft indutry: Installation and Service Companies
    • For potential operators: management companies in the living area, regional utility cross-border development of training modules for the craft industry and operators
Project partners:
  • ECOS GmbH, Osnabrück, Germany
  • HOMA Software BV, Enschede, The Nederlands
  • Handwerkskammer Osnabrück-Emsland, Germany
  • GEAS Energiewacht, Enschede, The Nederlands
  • Stadtwerke Osnabrück AG, Germany
  • Stichting Wonen Delden, The Nederlands
Supported by the INTERREG IV a program Germany-Nederlands as well as by the national co-financing of province Overijssel and the State of Lower Saxony.

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