A technology developed by IE-CHP, which aims to generate electricity and heat in residential buildings, has won investment from SSE, Intelligent Energy and the Scottish Investment Bank.

The trio has backed the start-up, which has raised £800,000 in new funding to further develop its prototype smart power units, or ‘mini power stations’, which use mains gas to generate electricity and hot water in people’s homes.
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According to the company’s website the fuel cell technology being used “acts like an efficient mini power station which converts the hydrogen into low-cost electrical power and heat, both of which can be used by the home. With this approach, households benefit from an efficient home energy system which generates much of their electricity, hot water and some of their heating needs too.”

According to a newly released industry report by energy analysts Ecuity, millions of these mini power stations could transform the UK power market. Ecuity estimates smart power units are suitable for 90 per cent of UK households and small businesses, totalling around 22 million properties.

IE-CHP’s smart power technology is different, in that it works with existing boilers,” says Mark Bugler, IE-CHP technical director. “This makes it much easier to install in people’s homes than was possible with earlier approaches, and it opens up a potentially enormous UK market.”

The widespread roll-out of five million fuel cell smart power units across the UK by 2030 would be equal to around 14 major new gas power generation units, the Ecuity report says.

The idea has already taken hold overseas: more than 80,000 smart power units have been installed in Japan as part of a strategic objective to introduce 5.3 million units by 2030.