Propane-fueled combined heat and power systems generate electricity and provide heat with higher efficiency and lower emissions than conventional heating and power generation alternatives.

PERC develops advanced propane-fueled CHP systems for homes, businesses, and industrial and commercial uses. This research responds to customers’ increasing interest in CHP technologies that provide reliable power while reducing emissions and electricity costs.

Advanced Integrated Energy System at a National Hotel Resort


An advanced integrated energy system integrates a propane-fueled combined heat and power system into a hotel’s existing electric, heating, and cooling systems. A propane-fueled CHP system was installed and demonstrated at a resort in Hawaii, during which researchers evaluated the economics of the system, conducted training, and developed an expanded laboratory program for testing high-output reciprocating engine generator sets based on fuel quality.

Cogeneration Demonstration at a Pennsylvania Hydroponic Greenhouse


This study demonstrated a 90 percent energy-efficient cogeneration system featuring a Marathon Ecopower propane engine with selective catalytic reduction to treat exhaust gas. The 5-kilowatt electric/14-kilowatt thermal combined heat and power system produced electricity, heated water, and fertilized crops with the carbon dioxide generated by the system at the hydroponic greenhouse.

Combined Heat and Power Systems for Residential Applications Comparison


Residential combined heat and power technology fueled by propane provides heat and power in an efficient way to homes and small businesses. An extensive review of existing CHP technology was conducted to compare the systems’ performance to electric heat pumps and conventional vapor-compression air conditioning systems using propane furnaces for heating.

Ecopower Micro-CHP Conversion


The Ecopower micro-CHP remote power electric generator was originally sold in Europe and met European grid standards. This effort converted the propane-fueled Ecopower micro-CHP to the U.S. electric standard for use in homes and light commercial applications. Three units were also demonstrated in selected U.S. residences.

Freewatt Plus Micro-CHP System

Docket:15625, 12199

Freewatt Plus is a micro-CHP system that combines an advanced warm-air or hydronic furnace with a 1.2-kilowatt propane-fueled engine generator to form a unique distributed generation system. To develop the system, researchers quantified the performance, economic, and environmental benefits of similar systems and documented the installation process of the propane system as compared to conventional high-efficiency warm air furnaces. Freewatt Plus underwent field-testing and a one-year demonstration to prepare it for market entry.

Gas-Fired Residential Combined Heat and Power Feasibility Study and System Specification


This study evaluated the feasibility of a gas-fired residential combined heat and power system in terms of consumer cost of purchased power versus "home generated" power (i.e., cost of fuel, utilized heat energy from on-site generation, grid-friendliness of the system, cost of owning the system).

Marathon Propane Engine and Generators

Docket:10646, 10122

Marathon adapted its natural gas engine to run on propane for air conditioning and electric power generation applications. The propane-fueled engine was performance tested and evaluated to determine the engine design configurations most suitable for reliable operation when used in air conditioning and electric power generation applications. Using this engine, Marathon developed and commercialized an engine systems generator and micro-cogeneration product line that is optimized to provide electric power to remote locations.

Market Assessment: Propane Distributed Generation


The Propane Distributed Generation Market Assessment is an evaluation of the technologies, markets, and trends for propane-fueled distributed generation applications of less than 1 megawatt. The study estimated the market and propane volume potential for the different distributed generation market segments. This research provides the basis for the development of a commercialization plan to help the propane industry realize the potential market for propane-fueled distributed generation.

Micro-CHP Systems for Residential Applications


A residential micro-CHP system provides on-site heat and power for homes and small businesses. This system was developed along with a commercialization strategy for market entry that included identifying the market potential and market requirements of micro-CHP systems, assessing the technology, and developing a proof-of-principle system design for a micro-CHP system.

Reciprocating Propane Engine Combined Heat and Power System


A reciprocating propane engine combined heat and power system captures thermal energy for water and space heating. This system was demonstrated at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to evaluate the system’s ability to provide continuous power to coffee roasting and packaging operations.

Yanmar Micro-CHP System

Docket:16744, 16245, 11866

The Yanmar micro-CHP system is a propane-fueled micro-cogeneration system for use in small rural facilities where power line extension and electric reliability come at a premium. Based on the work researchers did to accelerate the commercialization of this system, Yanmar is developing a 10-kilowatt version that uses better emissions controls, incorporates an off-grid inverter to enable uninterrupted power, and has a web-based access control system. To achieve commercialization, the 10-kilowatt system will be emissions certified, tested for long-term durability, and demonstrated at 10 locations.