Despite the war in Ukraine, gas is becoming greener, and properties can even halve their gas consumption by connecting a micro-CHP plant and heat pump from EC POWER, which has been on the market for 30 years.
How would humans design their overall energy system if or when they one day settled on Mars and had to build a society from scratch? This is a hypothetical question that Bjarne Bogner has been addressing for three decades.
“My claim is that you would build the energy system our way. Of course, it’s even cheaper to do it down here on Earth, but it will never happen to the full extent because our energy system here on Earth is influenced by so many political and commercial vested interests,”
He is CEO of EC POWER, which he founded 30 years ago. But there are still many people who benefit from EC POWER’s way of thinking about energy production and supply. Then as now, the company’s core product is the XRGI® gas-fired micro-CHP plant, which is installed where there is already a gas boiler. The micro-CHP plant powers a heat pump which is more energy efficient, the total installation in a customer’s property – the combination of gas boiler, micro-CHP plant and heat pump – can halve the amount of gas initially needed to produce energy for the property.
The gas will soon be completely green
The gas will soon be completely green “If we can save 50 percent of the gas, we no longer need gas from Russia. But energy consumers also need to be aware that there is already about 30 percent biogas in the natural gas grid today, and in five years we will be close to 100 percent**. So, the gas is just getting greener and greener, and at the same time you can reduce your gas needs with our micro-CHP plant, so we think we are coming up with a solution that is really green and renewable and supports the overall energy consumption optimally,”
By generating power where it is needed for a heat pump, XRGI® ensures that society does not have to expand its electricity infrastructure.
“As we speak, Germany, for example, has introduced restrictions on the use of heat pumps because there are already too many. The EU generally encourages everyone to use electric cars and heat pumps and then reduce electricity consumption by 10 percent! That’s quite a task to give to consumers!”.
We eat and make waste – that helps us
EC POWER was created with the vision that larger buildings such as schools, hotels, care homes and apartment blocks could have a much more efficient energy supply instead of having one or more furnaces running in the basement. EC POWER will harness both solar and wind power, as well as the even greener gas that will only continue as we get better at harnessing animal and human waste to make biogas.
“We humans keep eating and we keep making waste, which we can make new gas from by using CO2 and hydrogen from excess wind production. It will never be necessary to expand the gas grid and we will not need to electrify 100%. The point of this sector coupling is that it must also happen on the consumer side, and that is what we are ensuring. It will work when prices and the support system match the fluctuation in electricity generation that exists when solar, wind and wind power vary, and it will motivate building owners to store energy or sell excess energy in the common interest.”
The benefits of micro-CHP
Today, XRGI® micro-CHP plants are located around Europe, making a difference that is both green and cost-effective. This is happening in properties with larger gas boilers. Here, EC POWER adds an XRGI® micro-CHP plant and a heat pump.
“The problem with the heat pump, of course, is that the power is not always there in abundance, nor is it always cheap. With XRGI® you can produce the power for your heat pump yourself and get an incredibly high efficiency. When electricity is very expensive, you can give priority to running your own micro-CHP plant, and when electricity is very cheap, you can give priority to running your heat pump. That flexibility gives a big financial saving.”
A case from Absalon Skolen in Holbæk, which got an XRGI® micro-CHP plant and a heat pump in 2019, shows that the payback time has gone from five years at the time to three years at the prices we have now.
Although pure natural gas will be phased out over time, there will still be plenty of gas, explains Bjarne Bogner, and there will increasingly be green gas to support the green transition.
“CO2 emissions in Denmark on average from electricity are 139 grams per kWh, but already when we have 30 percent biogas in the gas, we are at 150 grams, while we have close to 2,000 grams in CO2 emissions when we run power generation on coal. 150 is within what the EU calls ‘no significant harm’. So, it is not significant. In addition, we are very close today to gas mixed with biogas and maybe some hydrogen, which could give us even cleaner electricity than we have today, where between 40 and 50 percent of the electricity is still produced on coal.”
*Compared to gas Boiler or Heat Pump only energy centres
** In Denmark