22 May 2002
Increasing concern about the impact of human activities on the global climate and the impact of deregulation of the electricity generation business on price and reliability is driving world interest toward distributed generation. Placing small generating units in residences (self-generation housing) creates the possibility of using the waste heat of generation in the residence (combined heat and power). This is very efficient and results in lower environmental emissions. Electrical reliability and price are under the control of the equipment owner (the householder). Rapid advances in small self-generation systems are presently being made with technologies such as fuel cells, Stirling engines and micro turbines. There will be challenges and opportunities for the heat pump industry. Potential opportunities for heat pumps to integrate with residential self-generation systems involve the use of thermally driven heat pumps driven by the thermal output of the self-generation system to provide space heating and cooling.