Africa, Cogeneration CHP, Europe

COSPP News Jan/Feb 2005


NEWS SUMMARY
Click on a link to view the full news item.

EU trading scheme opens for business
The EU’s carbon dioxide emission trading scheme (EU-ETS) opened for business at the beginning of January More

REEEP promotes biomass cogen in africa
The international Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) is supporting a proposal to speed up the development of biomass-fuelled cogen projects in Africa More

Largest vertical solar cladding project in Europe…
and the largest solar power system in the UK More



EU trading scheme opens for business

The EU’s carbon dioxide emission trading scheme (EU-ETS) opened for business at the beginning of January, but with several of its 25 Member States not participating. National emission allowance allocation plans (NAPs) for at least five countries – Greece, Italy, Poland, the UK and the Czech Republic – did not receive Commission approval before the scheme went live. Five NAPs, for Spain, Hungary, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta, were given the green light on 22 December, after 15 had previously been approved.

Once fully operational, the scheme could prove to be a very important milestone in EU environmental policy. Under it, some 12,000 industrial installations, accounting for half of European carbon dioxide output, will have their releases capped.

The first phase, now underway, runs from 2005-07. A second phase, to run from 2008 to 2012, is thought likely to involve stricter emission caps for market participants and could be expanded to cover new industrial sectors such as chemicals, aluminium and, possibly, aviation.

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REEEP promotes biomass cogen in africa

The international Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) is supporting a proposal to speed up the development of biomass-fuelled cogen projects in Africa by promoting awareness among policymakers, investors and stakeholders and by removing barriers (political and policy, regulatory, licensing and financial) to the development of cogeneration. The proposal is to target the industrial sector currently producing biomass waste with a view to improving their alternative income streams while generating low-carbon electricity.

Technology and economics

Domestic-scale, micro-CHP units have begun to approach commercial maturity in some parts of Europe, and several major companies are developing or running field trials on new products. Here, David Flin examines the technology options and economics of domestic heat and power.

There have been many predictions that the growth of domestic CHP in Europe will reach a mass market by 2015. However, with significant investment in mass production and cost reduction, much could be achieved by 2010, with some estimates suggesting that revenues of €2 billion per year could be achieved by this date.

The spate of major power outages in North America and Europe that took place in 2003 have resulted in renewed focus on developing energy technologies, including domestic or micro-CHP, to reduce the reliance of consumers on large generators and the grid. Domestic CHP is well placed to take advantage of this. In the UK, both PowerGen and BG Group’s Microgen have announced their intention to launch large-scale commercial sales of domestic CHP units based on Stirling engine technology.

In the longer term, similar domestic CHP units based on fuel cell technologies could become commercially available. While it is not yet clear which fuel cell technology will dominate, these would, in general, typically offer a higher power-to-heat ratio, and therefore extend the market to smaller homes with a lower thermal demand, and offer greater opportunities for the export of excess electricity.

WHAT IS MICRO-CHP?

The European Cogeneration Directive defines micro-CHP as units with an electrical capacity of less than 50 kW. However, this definition would include units capable of supplying multiple residencies and small businesses, rather than for just individual domestic users.

There is considerable scope to market domestic CHP to the ‘fuel rich’ – those who spend less than 5% of their total income on heating and lighting


For the purpose of this article, the term ‘micro-CHP’ is used to describe domestic-level CHP systems, with units of up to 4 kW, intended for installation in individual homes. These systems are able to meet the baseload demand for a family home but, because the home is also connected to the grid, the occupants can be sure that their peak load requirements will also be met.

The Energy Savings Trust (EST) of the UK defines a micro generator as a system designed for domestic-scale electricity generation, connected to the grid, with a maximum output of less than 3.7 kWe.

These units need to be small. The intention is that they would sit in an airing cupboard or under the kitchen sink. Systems usually comprise internal combustion engines or Stirling engines that burn gas. In effect, they replace the main boiler link into an existing heating distribution system.