Innovative Energy Technology Transforms Wasted Heat into Electricity

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing two companies for innovative new products that recycle wasted energy and turn it into usable electricity in homes or small buildings. Micro combined heat and power (CHP) systems are an emerging technology that can help change how people use and produce energy in their homes while protecting their health. When offsetting purchases of coal-generated electricity in cold climates, this emerging technology can reduce energy use and curb carbon dioxide emissions by 20 to 30 percent.

The winners of the 2011 Energy Star Emerging Technology Award—Freewatt micro CHP system made by New York’s ECR International and the Ecopower micro CHP system made by Wisconsin’s Marathon Engine—are helping home- and small building owners, particularly in the Northeast, produce their own electricity, which reduces their utility bills. These technologies capture wasted energy from space or water heaters and turn it into usable electricity from a single fuel source.

Although wasted heat technology has been successfully used in larger applications for many years, micro CHP systems have only recently been commercialized for small-scale use in residences, apartment buildings and small office buildings. 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.

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