LichtBlick begins installing home combined heat and power plants powered by VW 2.0L EcoBlue gas engine
Energy supplier LichtBlick has installed its first home power plants for residential and commercial customers in Hamburg, Germany. These plants are EcoBlue natural-gas-powered compact combined heat and power (CHP) plants produced by Volkswagen exclusively for LichtBlick. (Earlier post.) With EcoBlue technology from Volkswagen, energy consumption is reduced by up to 40% compared with conventional heat and power supply, according to VW.
Over the next few years, production and sales of the units are to be stepped up in accordance with the companies’ plan. In the long-term LichtBlick plans to network 100,000 of these home power plants, like a shoal of fish, to form Germany’s largest virtual gas-fired power plant.
This decentralized power plant will have the same capacity as two atomic power plants. The electric power generated will supplement fluctuating power from wind farms and solar facilities. The heat which is generated will be stored and will be available for local space heating and hot water supplies.
We intend to change the German energy landscape fundamentally. The successful launch in Hamburg is a major milestone. Our efforts are now gathering pace and we are developing the German market.—Dr. Christian Friege, CEO of LichtBlick AG
Volkswagen and LichtBlick agreed on an energy partnership in September 2009. Volkswagen produces the EcoBlue CHP plant at its Salzgitter engine plant.
The 2.0 l gas engines used have proved themselves in millions of our Touran and Caddy models. Partnership with LichtBlick is in line with our component strategy, which is to develop future-oriented business areas closely related to the automobile industry. Every unit we supply to LichtBlick also helps in securing future employment at Salzgitter and our other plants.—Prof. Dr. Werner Neubauer, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand with responsibility for Components
In addition to private building-owners, the first customers of LichtBlick include the city cleaning department in Hamburg. By the end of the year, LichtBlick plans to install a total of 30 plants in the region. Agreement has already been reached with SAGA GWG, a Hamburg housing association, and Vereinigung Hamburger Kindertagesstätten GmbH, the association of Hamburg child care facilities. Installation is due to start in early 2011.
Being located close to customers in Hamburg will enable LichtBlick to collect data useful in the next stage of national expansion of the decentralized power generation project, Friege said. A test set-up with 25 decentralized plants has already been in operation at Volkswagen's Salzgitter plant since the beginning of the year.
In addition to Hamburg, LichtBlick has already started sales efforts in Berlin, Bremen, Essen, Leipzig, and Stuttgart as well as in the region of Braunschweig, Wolfsburg and Salzgitter. Other regions are due to follow from 2011. A home power plant needs a heat demand of at least 40,000 kWh, which means that these plants are suitable for very large single-family homes, buildings with two or three flats, small businesses and public and social facilities such as schools and churches.
The plant remains the property of LichtBlick, which rents the customer’s “boiler-room”. The customer only pays a contribution starting at €5,000 for installation. With the support of regional installation partners, LichtBlick assumes responsibility for the dismantling of the old gas heating system and the installation of the home power plant as well as servicing, maintenance and repairs.