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WAVE Micro-Power-Plant that Supplies Electricity as Well as Heat Is Approaching the Market

20.02.2019

The WAVE micro-power-plant has been proven effective in production and it approaches the market. The first place to try it was in Mikolajice near Opava where it supplies the municipal office, store and fire station with heat and electricity. The power plant uses wooden pellets as fuel but it can also use woodchips of lower quality after modifications. The device that achieves the heat output up to 50 kW can work independently of the distribution network, too.

“This is the first device of its kind in the world. The development took more than 10 years and the results of pilot testing fulfilled our expectations. The micro-power-plant achieves the boundary of 80% of total operational efficiency. Authorized measuring of emissions has confirmed the reaching of limits that fulfill the requirements of the Ekodesign standard which all marketed boilers have to fulfill from January 1, 2020 at latest. It is also possible to receive boiler grants for devices that satisfy the Ekodesign standard as early as now,” said Ing. Jakub Maščuch, Ph.D., the leader of the deployment team of the micro-power-plant.

The idea of building a device with low demands on space that will produce heat and electricity with the possibility of independence of other energy sources was originally the basis of the dissertation thesis of Ing. Maščuch. After ten years of research and development for which the University Centre for Energy-Efficient Buildings of the Czech Technical University is responsible, the micro-power-plant is fully working and ready for operation in various conditions. The power plant is equipped with a number of automated features and it is virtually maintenance-free.

“As one of the main advantages of the micro-power-plant, I consider the fact that we were able to decrease the need of presence of an operator almost to zero thanks to automation. Moreover, it is a self-contained system that is not dependent on electricity supplies from the distribution network. This is accepted in a positive way especially by the firefighter troop that is independent of electricity and heat supplies from other sources this way. Another important effect is the minimization of emissions which contributes to improving the quality of the air in the municipality in winter,” adds Martin Krupa, mayor of Mikolajice.

As the next step, the authors plan to start small-batch production of the device that will achieve 120 kW of heat output and 6 kW of electric output. The reason of the development of a power plant with higher output parameters is significantly higher economic efficiency. It will be introduced to the market by the Damgaard Consulting company. According to Jakub Maščuch, the return of the whole investment corresponds (at current prices of energy) to the lifetime of the device.

“As compared to other boilers, the WAVE micro-power-plant is the only device that brings its price back thanks to energy savings during the time of its use. As the final result, the users get heat only for the price of the fuel,” adds Maščuch.

Application of this modern energy source with the heat output of 120 kW will be possible e.g. in boarding houses, in hotels, on farms, in blocks of flats or in wellness centers. The micro-power-plant can be adjusted so that it is absolutely independent of the distribution network; thanks to this possibility, it can be operated virtually anywhere. This type of device can also become a very good technological base for the expansion of the Smart Grid solutions which are power electric as well as communication networks that allow for controlling the consumption and production of energy in real time. Three years ago, the device was also recognized by the expert jury in the E.ON Energy Globe contest. Moreover, E.ON supported the project with 300,000 CZK and helped with its development and promotion in media.

The very intent of installing WAVE in the municipality of Mikolajice came from the YOUNG4ENERGY start-up which provided overall preparation of the project including necessary project documentation, official permission and grant management for the municipality.

Author of photo: Tomáš Kejha.