Boiler Alternatives – Tech Rushes to Meet Accelerating Needs
BY A.J. SIDRANSKY 28 OCTOBER 2022ENERGY CONSERVATION
As the planet continues to heat up, so does the business of countering climate change. A new product in this fight is the SmartWatt boiler system, designed to transform existing heating infrastructure into an energy platform. It can satisfy a property’s heating requirements while generating onsite electricity at nearly zero cost. The resulting energy can be used to provide a continuous backup power supply and supports the grid-operator by following power-loads in buildings and at grid level.
How Does it Work?
Designed as a drop-in replacement to regular heating systems, the SmartWatt Boiler system is a boiler with a power plant inside, significantly lowering the cost of electricity and increasing energy resiliency without any additional investments in infrastructure. It operates with multiple energy sources, including hydrogen and renewable natural gas (RNG). This type of heating/boiler system is known as micro combined heat and power (mCHP).
However, “Unlike other mCHP solutions, [SmartWatt] is designed around the geometry of a heating system with a similar cost structure and identical maintenance cycle when compared to regular condensing boilers,” says Dan Nadav, CEO of South Windsor, Connecticut-based Enviro Power, the company that makes SmartWatt. The NYSERDA-approved product is available in New York and New Jersey.
The system is designed to run on either natural gas or liquid propane (LPG), offering greater fuel flexibility. A simple adjustment switches fuel sources. An advanced model of the SmartWatt boiler light-commercial will also run on hydrogen and renewable natural gas (RNG) providing renewable heat and electricity.
Reclaiming Lost Energy
“The SmartWatt operates at 98% efficiency and replaces boilers that usually operate at 80% – therefore this 18% delta lost by the boiler we replace is used to generate electricity,” says Nadav. In other words, “We generate electricity without additional fuel consumption compared to traditional equipment.” Through cogeneration this combined heating and power system works to power a property while providing heat.
The closed loop, radial, micro steam turbine incorporated in the SmartWatt boiler combustion chamber is designed to generate up to 6 kW of free, onsite electricity while heat is being produced. An added benefit kicks in if there is a power outage, from a few hours to even a few days. The unit comes equipped with a seamlessly integrated generator. In addition to offsetting your electricity costs, the SmartWatt boiler can help you feel more protected with embedded, continuous backup power.
“The energy world is rapidly changing. Increasing decentralization, integration of intermittent renewable energy, and digitalization of energy are transforming the ways in which electricity is generated, delivered, and consumed,” says Nadav. His vision is to revolutionize the heating industry. “Our boiler technology uses heating infrastructures as a distributed energy resource platform, providing millions of buildings with onside access to cleaner and easy to store electricity.”
With climate change accelerating, monthly costs rising due to inflation, and pressure on property owners to shift away to more environmentally friendly and efficient energy sources advances in boiler technology are a great starting point for savings and efficiency.