One of the primary applications for the ecopower® microCHP system is heat and electricity generation for single family residences.
• A key element in making the ecopower® microCHP system work efficiently is having adequate demand for building heat and hot water. If your home uses hot water derived heat (boiler and hydronic delivery system) then your residence is a candidate for the ecopower®. The ecopower® also works in forced air heating applications. Domestic hot water, swimming pools, etc., can be heated by the ecopower®.
• The ecopower® system can be retrofitted into an existing heating environment or, of course, be designed into a new building.
• The ecopower® is most effective in buildings where heat needs are greater. The logic here is that the longer the ecopower® runs, the more payback is achieved from the amount of electricity generated.
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• Generally speaking, larger homes (> 2,500 sq. ft) have a better chance of justifying a cogeneration unit because of their higher energy usage. Very large homes can be designed with multiple units such as used in zoned air conditioning.
• By utilizing the ecopower® system, the need for another hot water heater is eliminated - thus saving energy. A separate (indirect heated) tank is needed. However, the heat for that tank is provided by the ecopower®.
• An important consideration to keep in mind when applying cogeneration calculations is that the ecopower® can be designed to run as much as possible in a heating mode. During this time, it is generating heat and electricity to offset the energy demand in the house (sending excess electricity back to the grid). The homeowner won't need to continuously make this calculation, because once programmed, the microprocessor in the ecopower® controls the unit to run at an optimum level and achieve the most savings. If your utility has a net metering plan for microCHP, the excess electricity is credited to you.
• It should be noted that the ecopower® system runs completely counter to a standard boiler (or forced air furnace) concept. In those applications, a thermostat typically turns on and tells the heat source (boiler, furnace) to energize and run at full speed to supply heat to get to the fixed set point. When that point is achieved, the unit turns off and awaits the next command. With the ecopower®, it anticipates the heat demand from sensors located in the house, the buffer tank, and outside and varies it's output to satisfy that demand. During this modulation, the ecopower® runs at a level that will maintain a constant heat value in the buffer tank to support the heat requirement and keep the engine running and generate electricity.
• A complementary boiler is typically installed. It is activated on very cold degree days when additional heat is needed, as well as acts as a backup to the ecopower®.
• The ecopower® can also serve as a swimming pool heater. By using it during the summer months as a pool heater, the electricity generated helps offset the high electrical use from pool pumps and air conditioning equipment.