A Canadian micro-combined heat and power (CHP) system developer has received a government grant to develop a thermal energy storage system.

Family-owned Egenolf Alternative Energy, which is based in British Columbia, will work with the Clean Tech Department at the College of New Caledonia on the project. According to founder and CEO John Egenolf, the firm aims to develop a compact thermal energy storage system for micro-CHP using the mineral zeolite as the storage medium.

Funding was received in November from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. The amount was not disclosed.

The company also received an earlier CA$65,000 ($52,000) grant from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Programme (NRC-IRAP) to develop a standalone micro-CHP integration and control system.

Egenolf said he began developing a biomass gasification CHP system in 2008, resulting in an operational demonstration and pilot plant in 2014.

According to the company’s website, the 20 kWe/123,000 Btu demonstration plant runs on propane and features a 2000-litre buffer tank.

“After years of R&D we have decided to develop the CHP side separately from the fuel side (biomass) to overcome costly certification hurdles and to accelerate the commercialization of the mCHP technology,” Egenolf said.

“In opposition to other micro-CHPs on the market we have always focussed on the more challenging stand-alone application vs grid-tie, since we have a strong stand-alone market in Canada,” he added.

The micro-CHP system has now received electrical certification and, according to Egenolf, the first machines are ready to be shipped.

The firm offers two micro-CHP systems, a 9.75 kWe/17.5 kWth unit and a 12.5 kWe/21.5 kWth unit. The systems can run on diesel, biodiesel, vegetable oil, wood gas, hydrogen and waste oil, or a blend of diesel and waste oils, and are controlled by an Arduino-based open-source system.