Home Generator Benchmarking Program: Residential Natural Gas Fired Electrical Generator and MicroCHP

Zachary Taie. Walter Beckwith and Christopher Hagen

Oregon State University - Cascades' Energy Systems Laboratory in Bend is leading a research project that will benchmark home natural gas-fueled generators and provide insight on the current state of commercially available generator performance in the U.S.

Natural gas-fueled generators rely on residential natural gas to create electricity for home use.  A specialized version of the natural gas-fueled generator, called combined-heat-and-power, provides power, and in addition recovers heat created during the conversion process and redirects it to heat the home, allowing maximum energy efficiency.  Combined-heat-and-power generators can be used as a home’s primary energy source.  They are commercially available and used overseas, but have not yet become widely available in the U.S.

The year-long project will identify elements of these generators that can be improved and highlight opportunities to improve their efficiencies, ultimately benefiting consumers.

The grant, totalling $500,000, is part of a national effort to advance high-potential, high-impact energy technologies.  The project is part of a $10 million program called Innovative Development in Energy-Related Applied Science - or “IDEAS”. The goal of IDEAS is to accelerate development of innovative technologies that can sustainably store, convert or transmit energy.

Home Generator Benchmarking Program Poster (PDF)