I was reading through the engineers news paper today and found an article about home generation. Not the usual portable generator, but micro co generation plants. In short, someone figured out you could put a generator on the boiler. The efficiency is horrible, 10-20%, but the tax man can't reach you. Yet.
The leading company at the moment appears to be WhisperGen in Christchurch, NZ who just began commercial sales in the UK.
1200W of power isn't very much, but it would still take a lot of load off the grid if all homes had something like this.
I get a regular monthly technology journal direct from the European Commission in Brussels. A group is studying the implications of small windfarms, small hydro projects, area heating, bio-fuel, home-generation and other schemes at the low end of the size scale. For economic reasons and reduced standby-plant size, big grids have always been seen as more efficient and reliable. But conversely, small plants are seen as a way to reduce carbon emissions and to utilise alternative sources of energy for the generation of heat and power, which by it's nature has to be very localised. Very often, these schemes will not fit happily into a large electrical grid concept except to reduce local loads, due to transmission and conversion losses.
Wood work but can't!
#145435 - 05/23/0612:16 PMRe: New power source from NZ
In which case any benefit we get from the energy schemes will be completely offset (and then some!) by the energy used up in the nine new departments set up to handle it all, not to mention the 2000 acres of Brazilian rain forest it will take to print the 287 chapters of rules & regulations which will apply and the 8500 inspectors driving around in their cars all day to enforce it.
#145436 - 05/23/0607:51 PMRe: New power source from NZ
How can it supply surplus power back to the national grid ? Wouldn't it need some kind of syncronisation ?
A small asnychronous generator can be connected to the grid without any hassle - we tried that at school in the lab with a 1000W generator. Simply fire up the generator and connect to the grid. If they're fitted with a synchronous generator and synchro gear they have a big advantage though - they can run off-grid during power outages providing heat and power during blackouts.
We're thinking of installing a bigger one in the basement of our apartment building (8 units, roughly 800 sq. m total living space), fired with sunflower oil, not natural gas though.
The one in question seems to be a small natural gas fired stirling engine. The few stirling engines I've seen run very silent indeed. We're going to get a standard Diesel engine though, and a much bigger one (80kW or 100kW thermal, 40-60kW electrical).
Small feeds like this can actually have advantages for the grid - they boost the voltage at long spurs and even out the voltage in the grid if controlled properly.
#145438 - 05/24/0609:08 PMRe: New power source from NZ
Ahh yes C-H, the WhisperGen. I remember reading about this unit about 2 years ago, It's not a new thing here by anyone's stretch of the imagination, the reason that no-one down here heard much about it was because it was being marketed outside of NZ. I remember seeing a thing on "60 minutes" last year I think it was, that may have been the first time a lot of people outside of the electrical trade had heard of such a thing. This device is a heat generator first and fore-most, the electricity generated is secondary to it's main purpose. It can generate up to 13kW of heat output. Sure 1000W is not a lot as far as electricity generation goes, but every bit helps and bear in mind that this technology was built from the ground up and is still being developed. I however have certain mis-givings about a device that plugs into the wall (IEC connector), yet can back-feed the grid without some sort of interlock. Imagine a street full of these?, it sounds like a Line-Mechanic's nightmare.
#145439 - 05/24/0609:20 PMRe: New power source from NZ
Perhaps Mike (Trumpy) knows, because he is from the South Island and reasonably close to Christchurch.
Ahh yes, but Mr Kiwi is ChCh itself, apart from the Canterbury Crusaders Rugby team, of course. Having said that, we have the Super 14 final here this weekend. There was a guy from Aussie on the news the other night opening his arms to any Kiwi's that wanted to leave NZ and enjoy thier tax-cuts. My guess is that they need 15 young men so that they can get somewhere near the Super 14 Final next year!.