Collaboration With NEEA Could Open Up Pacific Northwest Market for Tecogen High-Efficiency Water Heater
Tecogen Inc. (TGEN – $3.92), a leading manufacturer of clean energy products, initiated a collaboration with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), a union of more than 140 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations, to install more energy efficient natural gas equipment in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
As an initial test project, an Ilios air-source unit will soon be installed in a retirement community in Salem, Oregon. The NEEA chose this location as it felt that it successfully met key parameters like appropriate size, load demand and usage and that it could become a good demonstration project.
The alliance’s goal is to make the Northwest states increasingly energy efficient by accelerating new technologies, products and best practices and promoting the adoption of existing energy-efficient technologies. In addition, it aims to promote the use of natural gas, which is abundantly available in the region.
The Ilios heat pump project will examine how much energy can be saved. The test project at the retirement facility will run through to late winter 2017. The project partners expect to publish the initial results mid-2017.
Assuming the results of this test are satisfactory, natural gas utility companies in the region could implement an incentive program similar to those in New York, New Jersey or Maine, for energy efficient equipment. This way potential clients will be able to acquire Ilios units at a lower cost, encouraging more rapid technology adaption.
Speaking about the project, Benjamin Locke, Tecogen Co-CEO noted, “First introduced in 2012, our Ilios high efficiency water heaters have been shipped worldwide including to Ireland, the UK, Australia, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Eastern United States. We are optimistic that the capabilities and value proposition that our energy-saving heating solution provides will be apparent in this collaboration project, leading to a new market and potential project partners in the Northwest.”
Ilios High-Efficiency Water Heaters
Ilios high-efficiency water heaters operate like an electric heat pump but what makes them different is that they are powered by a natural gas engine rather than an electric motor. These heaters use a heat pump, which captures warmth from outdoor air even if it is moderately cool outside. The heat pumps extract heat from the outside and move it indoors.
The gas engine’s waste heat is recovered and used in the process, unlike its electric counterpart, which runs on power that has already lost its waste heat. The net effect is that the efficiency of an Ilios heat pump far surpasses that of conventional boilers when it comes to heating water. This translates directly into lower fuel consumption and, for heavy use customers, significantly lower operating costs. Gas engine heat pumps can deliver efficiencies in excess of 200%.
The market for Ilios high-efficiency water heaters continues to expand both geographically and into different end-market segments. These heaters are ideal for locations with a gas demand of at least 4000 Therms/month such as water parks, swimming pools, hotels, hospitals, apartment buildings and recreation centers. They also appeal to buildings that consistently face the need for heating and cooling simultaneously such as manufacturing and R&D type facilities.
Seizing Biofuel-Powered CHP Opportunity
In other news we learned that TTcogen, the 50/50 Joint Venture between Tecogen and Czech CHP manufacturer TEDOM, hired Walter Gray III as Director of Business Development to capture part of the vast biofuel-powered CHP market.
Mr. Gray has over fourteen years of international project development, business development, and environmental finance experience in the utility scale renewable and distributed generation markets. Most recently as the CEO and Founder of Enthalpic Capital, Mr. Gray was focused on developing a portfolio of waste heat, biogas, biomass and cogeneration projects in the U.S. and Mexico.
TTcogen offers a complete package of efficient CHP modules from Czech CHP-manufacturer TEDOM that are fully capable of running on a variety of fuel feedstocks, including biogas – a renewable energy source with a rapidly growing market. This is an important feature as the United States is expected to implement new regulations in the coming years which require that all food and agricultural waste be recycled.
New York City’s zero waste initiative, for example, aims to reduce organic garbage (i.e. food waste) by 90% by 2030. A substantial aspect of this initiative is the required collection of organic food waste for use in anaerobic digester facilities to fire large-scale CHP systems by using the resulting biogas as a fuel feedstock. Many of these facilities are planned for construction in 2017 and 2018. Those facilities would be ideal for TTcogen’s equipment.
The biofuel CHP units could potentially also open up the market for agricultural installations that are starting to use their agricultural waste as a fuel source. Eventually, it may even open up the wastewater and landfill markets, similar to recent development seen in Europe.
Founded 20 years ago, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is an alliance of more than 140 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations working together on behalf of more than 13 million energy consumers in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
As part of its 2015-2019 business plan, the NEEA is striving to achieve 145 average megawatts (aMW) of total regional electric savings, and more than 280 million therms of gas savings. The organization clearly knows what it’s talking about. Since 1997, it has saved more than 1,200 average megawatts (aMW) of electricity through our market transformation work — the equivalent to powering more than 900,000 homes each year.
Natural gas heat pumps are part of a portfolio of natural gas products that the region is investigating to benefit gas utility customers across the Northwest. The natural gas utility partners in this large regional effort are Avista Utilities, Cascade Natural Gas Corporation, Energy Trust of Oregon, NW Natural and Puget Sound Energy.
The cooperation with these natural gas utilities, in such a vast area, could become a significant milestone for Tecogen. If the results of the initial test project are positive, NEEA truly has the power to push the adaption of the technology forward in the territory.
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