Understanding Micro CHP – Complete Guide to Combined Heat and Power

Micro-CHP (Combined Heat and Power) is a system in which a boiler and a small power plant are combined into one durable device.

In the quest for efficient and sustainable commercial energy solutions, micro combined heat and power (micro CHP) systems are emerging as a game-changer. But what exactly is micro CHP, and how can it revolutionize energy solutions, especially in micro grids? This comprehensive guide delves into the world of micro CHP, offering insights into its workings, benefits, and future prospects.

This article is about the following topics:

  • What is Micro CHP, and how does it work?
  • Advantages of Micro CHP Systems
  • Installation and Maintenance of Micro CHP
  • Micro CHP and Environmental Sustainability
  • 5 reasons to choose our solution – Winno Energy


micro CHP

What is Micro CHP, and how does it work?

Micro CHP refers to a system that simultaneously generates heat and electricity from a single source, primarily designed for individual homes or small office buildings. This technology, an extension of cogeneration concepts, is particularly suited for small-scale applications. 

Micro CHP systems are primarily heat-focused, with electricity generation as a valuable by-product. By integrating heat and power production, these systems achieve higher efficiencies and lower environmental impacts compared to conventional methods.

The core of micro CHP technology lies in its ability to produce heat and electricity simultaneously. Most micro CHP systems contain a small heat engine — often an internal combustion engine, micro gas turbine, or a Stirling engine — that drives a generator. This process not only produces electricity but also utilizes the waste heat for space heating and hot water provision in buildings. 

Fuel cells, another critical technology in micro CHP, operate differently. They generate electricity through electrochemical reactions, with heat as a by-product. The efficiency of these systems is notably higher than traditional energy sources. For instance, fuel cells in micro CHP can reach electrical efficiencies of up to 37 %, with a heat recovery efficiency of 52 %.

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Advantages of Micro CHP Systems

The adoption of micro CHP systems brings several significant advantages. Firstly, their efficiency is a major selling point. By generating electricity and heat simultaneously, micro CHP systems use fuel more efficiently than separate heat and power systems. This leads to lower energy bills and reduced carbon emissions, making them an environmentally friendly option. As per the Energy Saving Trust, these systems are particularly beneficial for homes, providing both power and heating from a single source. 

Furthermore, micro CHP systems contribute to energy independence and security. They can produce energy on-site, reducing reliance on the grid and offering a solution during power outages. The versatility in fuel options, ranging from natural gas to renewables like biomass, adds to their appeal. This adaptability not only makes them suitable for a wide range of settings but also furthers their environmental benefits.

The practical applications of micro CHP systems are diverse and increasingly popular. For example, in Japan, the adoption of fuel cell-based micro CHP systems has been significant, with an estimated 138,000 installations by the end of 2014, mainly in residential settings.


CHP Plant


Installation and Maintenance of Micro CHP

Implementing micro CHP systems involves consideration of installation and maintenance aspects. The process typically begins with assessing the suitability of a building for a micro CHP unit, which includes evaluating energy needs and space availability. 

Installation should be carried out by certified professionals to ensure optimal performance and safety. In terms of maintenance, micro CHP systems are generally low-maintenance compared to conventional heating systems. However, regular check-ups and servicing are necessary to maintain efficiency and prolong the system’s lifespan. The initial installation cost can be higher than traditional systems, but the long-term savings on energy bills and potential government incentives can offset this. 

Additionally, technological advancements are gradually reducing the cost of micro CHP systems, making them more accessible to a wider range of users.

Micro CHP and Environmental Sustainability

Micro CHP systems stand out for their environmental sustainability. By efficiently utilizing fuel to produce both heat and power, they significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional energy sources. For instance, the effective efficiency of CHP heat production is much higher than that of a condensing boiler. 

This efficiency translates into lower carbon dioxide emissions and reduced fuel consumption, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change. Additionally, the flexibility of micro CHP systems to operate on various fuels, including low-emission options like biomass and hydrogen, further enhances their green credentials. By integrating these systems into residential and commercial buildings, we can take a substantial step towards reducing our carbon footprint and moving towards a more sustainable future.

5 reasons to choose our solution – Winno Energy

Winno Energy’s micro-CHP units are not just energy solutions; they are a testament to innovation in sustainable energy technology. By offering rapid start-up times, moisture tolerance in fuel, and operational cost efficiency, these units are set to revolutionize the micro-CHP market – and here are the best benefits: 

1. Innovative Design and Flexibility:

Winno Energy’s 20KWe/40KWe Micro-CHP units represent a breakthrough in micro-CHP technology. These units offer flexible installation options, including skid-mounted units or container-based systems, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. The compact and modular design ensures easy integration into existing infrastructures, providing a seamless solution for energy needs.

2. Rapid Start-up and High Efficiency:

One of the standout features of these units is their quick start-up time. The gasifier can be operational in less than three minutes, significantly reducing the time to deliver energy compared to traditional systems. This rapid response capability ensures that energy is available when it’s most needed, enhancing the overall efficiency of the system.

3. Unique Moisture Tolerance:

Unlike many conventional systems, Winno Energy’s micro-CHP units do not require a dedicated dryer for fuel preparation. They can efficiently process wood chips with a moisture content of up to 35%. This feature significantly lowers the operational complexity and costs, as it eliminates the need for additional drying equipment and processes.

4. Operational and Fuel Cost Efficiency:

Detailed analysis of the operational and fuel costs associated with the 40KWe CHP unit reveals its cost-effectiveness. The fuel consumption is optimized, with an average of 47 kg per hour when producing at full 40/20KWe capacity, using 30% moisture content clean wood chips. The system’s fuel efficiency translates into lower operational costs, making it an economically viable solution for energy production.

5. Maintenance and Service:

The recommended service intervals and procedures for the 40KWe CHP unit ensure its longevity and reliability. Regular maintenance activities include engine oil changes, filter replacements, and syngas washer filter maintenance. With a predicted engine lifetime of 18,000 hours before requiring an overhaul, the unit promises sustained performance with minimal downtime.

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We are always keen to discuss your biomass or biogas projects. Please do not hesitate to contact us at anytime. We are trying our best to help with your enquiry. If we do not have a solution, we will try to help you find the right technologies for your needs.

About author

Juha Junttila, Winno Energy.

Juha Junttila

Juha is a Managing Director in Winno Energy and has a long history in bioenergy field.

Feel free to connect::
+358 44 985 9051 juha@winnosolutions.com

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