Group members of Project Micro-CHP (Combined Heat and Power) at Dalhousie University were instructed to engineer and construct a small generator that could both power and heat a single family dwelling. The catch was that the generator had to be adaptable to different needs, be it a remote location or with the possibility of running it in conjunction with being connected to the existing electrical grid. So, how did they do it?
The group took an existing diesel generator, which was initially tested to capture 28% of the useful fuel energy and with modifications, attempted to increase the energy capture percentages to the required 75% efficiency. The modifications included the use of an exhaust heat exchanger and a helical coil heat exchanger to act in lue of the engine's radiator.
The final generator was a 5.2kW diesel system with heat exchangers located in the cooling system and exhaust system. The heat exchangers were capable of producing 55 degrees Celsius at 5-7 liters per minute. This equates to about 10-12kW of captured waste heat. The generator and heat exchangers operated at an overall efficiency of 85% which is a dramatic improvement from the original 28% and also succeeded the required 75%.
Protocase manufactured the casings for the exhaust heat exchanger and electrical control, the distribution box, the top cap for the generator electrical box and the entire enclosure for the CHP generator (which included generator cooling via louvers, radiator cooling via damper and a removable lid). The enclosure was critical to further improve efficiency by keeping the heat in, and to reduce the ambient noise while running.
Working with Protocase
Project Micro-CHP includes: Supervisor Dr. Peter Allen, Coordinator Dr. Clifton Johnston, students Justin Pruss, Paul Mckinnon, Ray Doiron and Justin Wong. The group had indicated that it has been an "incredible experience" working with Protocase. Recently, Justin Pruss claimed that their " ...first impressions were great, simply from the extremely quick responses from Account Manager Georgie Matthews." "Georgie really made us feel like our project meant something to someone other than ourselves; like Protocase was there to help, not to just provide a product."
We were happy to help out the team on their project and we were excited to hear that the generator exceeded project expectations with fantastic end results. Congratulations to Project Micro-CHP.