Tecogen’s New Combined Heat & Power Unit Outclasses Competition
Tecogen Inc. (TGEN – $3.39), which designs, manufactures and sells Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems that produce combinations of electricity, hot water, and air conditioning, has launched its revolutionary InVerde e+ technology for CHPs.
The new units combine the best technologies in the field, along with a unique set of proprietary innovations by the Tecogen team.
Thanks to the cutting edge inverter technology, an innovative power control, and a new and improved engine, the InVerde e+ reaches an electrical efficiency of 34%, while its nearest competitor achieves efficiencies between 27 and 29 percent.
Note that this efficiency only refers to the produced electricity and that the harvested heat to produce thermal energy is not taken into account. A Tecogen CHP system that also uses the recovered heat, achieves an efficiency between 80 to 90 percent.
The DC input capability, facilitating battery or solar array integration, is another huge innovation. It allows for a seamless transfer of energy between the CHP, other energy generators, such solar panels, windmills, and backup batteries, eliminating the need for costly converters. This way, the CHP basically becomes a complete Building Energy Management System. We’re not aware of any CHP competitor having this feature.
BUILDING ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (BEMS)
An energy management system (BEMS) is a sophisticated method to monitor and control a building’s energy needs. Next to energy management, the system can control and monitor a large variety of other aspects of the building regardless of whether it is residential or commercial. Examples of these functions are heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting or security measures.
The global market for building energy management systems continues to grow as technologies reach maturity and customers gain understanding of the business value generated by investment. According to Navigant Research, the global BEMS market reached $2.4 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow to $10.8 billion by 2024. Although Tecogen is a smaller player in this market, it does indicate the strong demand and growth potential.
Moreover, the new units automatically start up within 10 seconds in the event of a full blackout of the grid, making the CHPs compliant with the new strict 110 standard for emergency and standby power systems by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This is yet another innovation that very few competitors offer.
The NFPA 110 standard covers performance requirements for emergency and standby power systems providing an alternate source of electrical power in buildings and facilities in the event that the normal electrical power source fails. Amongst these requirements is that the backup equipment needs to supply electrical power within 10 seconds of the blackout in order for it to qualify.
Robert Panora, Tecogen’s President and Chief Operating Officer commented, “The new InVerde e+ is a real testament to Tecogen’s devotion to continuous product improvement. It reinforces our goal to be at the forefront of the industry, providing our customers with the most advanced clean energy technologies available in the marketplace.”
Ilios Sells Water Heater
In other news, Tecogen’s subsidiary Ilios Inc. sold a high efficiency water heater unit for installation in a luxury hotel outside Manhattan, NY. The hotel includes 38 luxury suites, two restaurants, a large spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and rooftop pool, all of which will benefit from Ilios’s efficiently produced domestic hot water.
The Ilios water heater operates like an electric heat pump but uses a natural gas engine instead of an electric motor to power the system. Heat pumps work somewhat like a refrigerator, but in reverse. Refrigerators extract heat from inside the refrigerator and move it outside the refrigerator. Heat pumps extract heat from outside and move it indoors. In both cases, fluids move the heat around by flowing through heat exchangers. At various points the fluids are compressed or expanded, which absorbs or releases heat.
The net effect is that the efficiency of Ilios’ heat pump far surpasses that of conventional boilers for water heating. This translates directly to lower fuel consumption and, for heavy use customers, significantly lower operating costs. Gas engine heat pumps can deliver efficiencies in excess of 200%.
The cost-saving Ilios water heater runs on cheap and abundant natural gas and will be fitted with Tecogen’s patented ultra-clean Ultera emissions control technology, bringing emission of harmful smog-inducing pollutants down to near-zero levels.
The Ilios water heater is 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. The Ilios market also continues to expand both geographically and into different end-market segments. In fact, this is the first Ilios installation in the New York hospitality market.
With faster production lead times and longer service intervals, Tecogen’s new InVerde e+ is a natural fit for building managers looking for a hassle-free, economic, and environmentally friendly solution to their heating and power needs.
The Company hasn’t disclosed the cost for the new CHP unit yet, but because it has so much additional technology and advantages, it’s safe to assume that it will be situated at the high end of a CHP’s price range. That should clearly have a positive impact on Tecogen’s revenues and backlog as sales start to ramp up.
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