Industry Market Trends

Sustainability Spotlight: 2011 Energy Star Emerging Technology Awards

Feb 17, 2011

The U.S. EPA has recognized two companies for innovative micro combined heat and power (MCHP) systems that recycle wasted energy and turn it into usable electricity in homes or small buildings. As winners of the 2011 Energy Star Emerging Technology Award, the Freewatt system made by ECR International, N.Y., and the Ecopower system made by Marathon Engine, Wis. are helping home and small building owners produce their own electricity while reducing their utility bills. These technologies capture wasted energy from space or water heaters and turn it into usable electricity.

Combined heat and power technology has been successfully used in large applications for many years, but MCHP systems have only recently been commercialized for small scale use. This year's winning micro CHP systems met strict criteria for efficiency, noise, emissions and third party-verified performance. In addition to submitting laboratory test results, products were monitored in the field for a minimum of one year to be eligible for recognition.

ECR International freewattŪ MCHP System

ECR International's freewatt MCHP system uses heat generated by a reciprocating engine to produce 12,000 BTU/hr of heat while simultaneously co-generating 1.2kW of electric power for a home or building. On colder days where the heating demand exceeds the initial level of heat generation, the system's high efficiency furnace or boiler kicks in to meet the space heating requirement. Freewatt system controls also have the ability to connect to the Internet, offering the homeowner the ability to monitor power generation and energy savings, or set their programmable thermostat.

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Marathon ecopowerŪ MCHP System

Marathon's ecopower MCHP system harnesses the heat generated by a reciprocating engine to deliver more than 40,000 BTU/hr of heat while simultaneously co-generating as much as 4.7 kW of electric power. Primarily used in multi-family and small commercial buildings, this unit is targed for use with hydronic heating systems but can be adapted for use with other heating systems as well. Ecopower systems can also be multiplexed to serve larger facilities.

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