natural gas flame

Looks like it must be the time for utility companies to prove their tech cred. No sooner did we check out the news that a startup plans to help gas companies offer broadband over gas, than we learned that U.K.-based utility Powergen plans to offer customers home heating boilers that can also generate electricity. The boiler — based on the same concepts as the 1816 Stirling engine — uses gas to heat water for household use, and at the same time powers an external combustion engine composed of a series of pistons that power a generator. Excess capacity can be fed back into the electrical grid, reducing home energy costs by up to 20%, according to Powergen. Similar combined heat and power (CHP) units have been used in industrial locations, but the market for home-based Micro CHPs is just taking off; in addition to Powergen, British Gas is also testing a Micro CHP for home use.

[Via Treehugger]

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U.K. utility to offer electricity-generating boilers