20 July 2010 – Sales of micro-CHP devices fell to 20,930 units in 2009, but in terms of power generation capacity the market size actually grew to 37.8 MWe of capacity. The 2009 market was worth some EUR269 million (US$346 million)  – according to the annual review of the micro-CHP market published by Delta Energy & Environment.
Japan remained the only market where products suitable for single family homes are widely available, with a product also launched in the north-eastern US. In Europe, commercial activity was focused on 5 kWe products better suited to small businesses and multi-family homes.
Sales of the Honda internal combustion engine-based ECOWILL product contracted in Japan in response to the economic crisis and growth in all-electric homes. The ECOWILL system is the most sold micro-CHP appliance in the world. The Honda engine is also at the heart of the FreeWatt unit now available in the US, and a system being trialled by Vaillant in Europe for launch in 2011.
Meanwhile, says Delta, the commercial launch of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell micro-CHP systems took place in Japan – over 5200 systems were sold, also reducing Honda ECOWILL sales.
However, despite a fall in Honda sales in Japan, global micro-CHP capacity and market value grew, largely due to an excellent year for larger 5 kWe internal combustion engine systems from SenerTec (owned by Baxi) and PowerPlus Technologies (owned by Vaillant) in Germany, on the back of new and attractive subsidies.
Now, after many years of unfulfilled promise, residential-scale micro-CHP in Europe has finally become a commercial reality in 2010, led by Stirling engines from BDR Thermea (the new company formed by the merger of Remeha and Baxi) and the Efficient Home Energy (a joint venture between Whisper Tech and Mondragon).
Both of these companies have units coming off manufacturing lines, have assembly facilities in place, and are ready to ramp-up production volumes, says the market review.
Japan will continue to lead on fuel cell micro-CHP sales and development, says Delta, building on PEM fuel cell market introduction and the demonstration of Kyocera’s solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology. In Europe Hexis and Baxi are currently at the forefront of European efforts, each trialling tens of systems – nearly all in the German market.
Delta’s Micro-CHP Annual Roundup 2009 and Outlook Report is available to subscribers at www.delta-ee.com