A couple of British manufacturers are developing CHP (combined heat and power) fuel cell boilers which one day will provide power to homes in the United Kingdom. British Gas and Ceres Power have teamed up to create their own CHP fuel cell boiler that will be competing with the Baxi Ecogen mini-CHP unit.
Since 2005, British Gas and Ceres Power have been working on their fuel cell home heating unit, which will tap into the house’s natural gas supply, run it through a fuel cell and create electricity for the residence. In fact, the CHP fuel cell can supposedly create an excess of electricity this way and may allow homeowners to cell energy back to the power companies.
The British Gas CHP fuel cell creates both heat and electricity and will help homes cut emissions and energy bills by as much as 25-percent. And, then there is the Baxi Ecogen, which is expected to go on sale in early 2009.
The Baxi Ecogen is geared towards producing hot water, heat and 1 kw of electricity. It will also reduce the home’s carbon footprint by 1 to 2 tons per year.
According to current customer David on the Baxi site, “Since we had the unit installed in our kitchen before Christmas, our electricity bills have reduced by 35-percent a month. And because the new boiler is much more efficient than the old one, we have been able to turn down the central heating and lower our gas bill as well.”
This is a key point since one concern about natural gas powered fuel cell boilers in the past is that they will use more gas. But, if British Gas and Baxi can produce CHP fuel cell boilers that use less gas, produce less emissions, provide more heat, hot water and electricity, then it’s hard to find the drawbacks of such systems. Expect these units to be closely watched by many other interested countries in the months to come.