100 CHP installations in large field trial

In InnovationCity Bottrop, the value of various combined heat and power (CHP) installations was tested from 2013 to 2016 in buildings with different levels of insulation. The results showed that CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 40 per cent and the primary energy requirement by up to 26 per cent. At the same time, technological and economic challenges were identified. 

Through their decentralised generation of heat and electricity, CHP installations can be important building blocks for climate protection and the transformation of the energy system – especially when used in existing buildings. The Gas- und Wärme-Institut Essen e.V. (Gas and Heating Institute Essen) (GWI) tested 100 micro CHP plants in single and multiple family houses and commercial units in Bottrop – involving plant manufacturers, planners, installers, energy suppliers and end users. The aim of the project was to discover which CHP plants brought the greatest benefit and where, and what CO2 reduction effects are achievable.

Engine for progress:

  • direct CO2 emissions reduction of 40 % in field trial
  • practical experience of the most efficient use of various installations
  • extensive involvement of experts and users

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Graphic: Open Street Map

Project area showing location of 100 CHP installations in Bottrop. Source: Open Street Map

Before and after comparisons of various installations

Included in the tests were CHP plants of various types and manufacturers with an electrical output of one to five kilowatt-hours – using fuel cells, Stirling and Otto engines. In a before and after comparison with previously used plants the GWI measured, among other things, energy consumption and the potential for CO2 reduction, the effects of particular building and insulation characteristics on the performance, ease of operation and installation and operating costs.

Positive results for environment and participants

Under the project, many measurements were carried out up to 2016 – with positive results for climate protection. The 100 CHP plants were able to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40 per cent and primary energy requirements by around 26 per cent. In addition, the companies taking part acquired new knowledge concerning technologies, insulation standards and energy saving potential. At the same time, the field tests showed which combinations of installations and buildings were most effective. 

Economical challenges for the future

Of course, one result of the project is also that with the current low energy prices, CHP installations in comparison to the previous installations are hardly more profitable, and no further major technological efficiency gains are likely to be achieved. The project final report highlights crucial questions concerning the extension of CHP installations: promotion and administrative simplification can help remove hurdles and further support the transformation of the energy system.

Partners and sponsors

  • Gas- und Wärmeinstitut Essen e.V.
  • InnovationCity Ruhr (ICM)
  • Hochschule Ruhr West
  • Anlagenbauer und Bürger
  • DVGW
  • Land NRW
  • Ministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz (MKULNV)
Counselling centers:
  • EnergieAgentur.NRW