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Vaillant and Honda present home combined heat and power system for Europe

Vaillant, the heating and ventilation specialist, and Honda presented a new micro-combined heat and power (mCHP) system for Europe. It is the first European system with highly efficient gas engine technology for use in single-family homes. The mCHP system simultaneously produces heat and electricity and will be available in Germany by mid-year under the product name Vaillant ecoPOWER 1.0.

Using Honda’s long experience in the Japanese market, a new mCHP unit for the German market was developed. The compact module produces 1 kW electrical and 2.5 kW thermal output. The electrical efficiency as an indicator of the economical operation of the micro-CHP unit exceeds 26.3%, outperforming all comparable micro-CHP systems in the lower output range.

Aside from a Honda mCHP module and a heat recovery module, the system also consists of a 300-liter multi-function storage cylinder and a wall-hung gas-fired condensing boiler for peak loads and system controls. The output of the peak-load heating appliance is variable and depends on the need for heat of the respective property.

Vaillant developed all the hydraulics for the heating system and the control and connection technologies. For the management of the whole system a system regulator was designed to ensure economical and demand-based use of energy. For the first time, Honda used an Extended Expansion Linkage Engine (EXLink) in its mCHP Module, helping to significantly improve the efficiency of the unit. In Japan and the USA, Honda has offered their micro-CHP units for use in family houses since 2003.

So far, more than 100,000 of these units have been sold and installed in both countries. Honda has used the production know-how it has gained from this for the benefit of this project. Vaillant is one of the European market leaders in the CHP sector with gas engine-driven mCHP systems for cogeneration in large family houses, blocks of flats and business premises.

Decentralized cogeneration produces electricity and heat in the home where it is consumed. This differs from electricity generation in conventional power stations where up to 60% of the energy is wasted due to heat loss, the partners said. This makes CHP especially efficient; conventional CHP systems achieve efficiency of up to 90%. The Honda mCHP unit, the harmonized system components, and the smart energy management help the ecoPOWER 1.0 systems to deliver an overall efficiency of 92%.

It will also reduce the CO2-balance of the energy supply of smaller properties under ideal usage-conditions by approximately 50% compared to conventional heating systems

The German Federal Government promotes decentralised heat-power cogeneration through the CHP Act which came into effect in January 2009. The aim of this act is to increase the electricity ratio of heat-power cogeneration in Germany from current levels (around 15%) to 25% by 2020.

Excess electricity is fed back into the supply grid. Under the act, the total amount of electricity generated with the ecoPOWER 1.0 is supported with incentives over a 10-year period. Users will benefit from a CHP bonus (currently 5.11 euro cents per kilowatt hour) and will also be free from electricity tax for an unlimited period. Whether the electricity is consumed at home or fed into the grid has no bearing on these benefits.

Electricity fed into the grid is rewarded in addition to the CHP bonus and is remunerated on the basis of the current electricity price. In addition, system users also benefit from a refund of the fuel tax for the natural gas used and the charges for using the grid. From March 2011 onwards, property owners who refurbish their property, can take part in a scheme by the KfW German Development Bank where up to 5% of the investment costs for installing a new mCHP unit are subsidized.



"Extended Expansion Linkage Engine", would that be a proper Atkinson cycle engine then?

If so, strange it only manages 26% efficiency vs 36% efficiency from a Prius 'Miller-like' cycle.


If the electricity produced was used to power a COP 4.0+ Heat Pump, the efficiency could be raised from 26.3% to 100+%.

Alternatively, a CHP-Heat Pump combo could be reduced to 1/4 size.

Surplus e-power and/or heat could become a problem to be solved.

Both CHP and Heat Pump could produce just enough of both but the perfect ratio would be difficult to maintain.


This is the killer app to cut out utility companies! This could do for energy what cellphones did for telephones. Just imagine, no more power outages that effect entire regions ... reducing energy waste by 60 percent ... giving the homeowner options for installing even greener energy sources. The so-called "Smart Grid" is really very stupid compared to decentralized cogeneration.


"The Honda mCHP unit, the harmonized system components, and the smart energy management help the ecoPOWER 1.0 systems to deliver an overall efficiency of 92%."

A bold claim. But one that is probably possible eventually. What is REALLY impressive is the support the German government is giving this technology. Clearly they see the wisdom in de-centralizing power generation which solves many old problems - power outages, overhead wiring maintenance and blight, less demand on grids "smart" or stupid.

This is the future of energy generation on Earth and a major step toward true Energy Independence. Congratulations to Honda, Vaillent and the Merkel government for having this vision that will bring sustainability to the planet.

Dave R

A CHP unit like this would complement PV solar systems very well in the winter months.

For example, while my PV system generates more than I use in the sunny months, in the less sunny months, Oct-Feb, the system falls a bit short.

In those months I also need to heat the house, so being able to generate some electricity and heat at the same time would be nice.


The so-called "Smart Grid" is really very stupid compared to decentralized co generation.

The problem with th above comment is that the vast majority of customers would be quite happy with the current switch ready sytem.

A large number of distributed machines woud require more maintainence staff and a hands on approach to energy use.

While the power companies can supply, most consumers will prefer that home delivered service.

Of course if they don't, then the alternative approach will be very tempting.

The smart integrated grid is still the basis for this distributed concept.

Lots of good comments , but I don't accept 'dumb grid'.



Not to cool your enthousiasm, but these units switch off in the case of a power outage (just like inverters for pv systems). That is a mandatory security measure so fire fighters don't get electrocuted thinking they shut off power.

Furthermore, the thing still burns fossil fuels. It is good to extract just a little bit extra, but still not a final solution.

And lastly, these things are *expensive*. Think about 10000 dollar or more.


Arnold and Anne, you make some good points. However, everyone in the developed world already has a considerable amount of technology built into their home just to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A power generator wouldn't add much to the complexity that is already there. A small generator in the home is going to be more efficient than centralized generation simply because of the resistance in copper lines. Any time you have to send electricity more than a few miles, you are wasting more than you save with the slightly more efficient large-scale generators in a power plant.

Anne, duh ... in a power outage, it is easy to install an automated switch that shuts off power to the grid. What would a power-sensing switch cost, about $5?

Henry Gibson

There is no real danger in such a machine feeding power into a dead grid just the load in the local area would overload it if the house load did not. The people working on the power lines should always test and switch off and short out an active grid.

The cost of these machines is very high and they and the Climate Energy Freewatt machines are not available in most of the US. HONDA will not sell the Japanese version of the machine in the US nor its US modified version.

Since the machine is so expensive, the people who buy it can also afford a big enough emergency generator which can pretend to be the grid to the freewatt version. Freewatt has a higher power plus version that uses some system to operate during power failures.

Some company should make a cheap version that uses the old ONAN long life 1800 RPM technology plus water cooling and exhaust heat capture and just put it outside alongside the air conditioner compressor-condenser.

If Capstone ever makes a profit, they could build a 5Kw turbine for homes with a single moving part and foil air bearings for long life. Perhaps MITI (Mohawk) should do it.

The German OTAG LION is not available in the US but uses a linear steam piston generator. The Whispergen seems to have boats and test areas in the UK as its market.

INFINIA's free piston Stirling version might be promoted by Bosch finally in Germany and perhaps Rinnai in Japan where it will never catch up with the HONDA.

Big buildings should have a capstone turbine for chp plus cooling and also one of these machines for heating hot water and emergency power. Burning natural gas for heating water alone should be banned long before 100 watt light bulbs are banned. ..HG..

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