The project “Nano-BHKW” aims at the development of a novel and innovative Nano-combined-heat-and-power-plant for the partial conversion of the heat into electrical energy of single and multi-family houses during the heating period. In comparison to the units in use up to now, which are based on combustion engines, the “Nano-BHKW” to evolve uses thermoelectric generators (TEG) based on novel Skutterudite semi-conductor alloys. The conversion into electrical energy is caused by the temperature difference between 500 °C on the hot side and 50 °C on the cold side heat exchangers, using the solid state physical phenomenon of the so-called Seebeck effect. In contrast to the already available systems a great advantage of the novel technology consists in the electrical energy delivery even in the low or partial load range of the plant below 5 kW. In order to compile a close-to –application solution the principal setup equates to a conventional heating unit with gas burner, heat exchangers and heating circuit. An essential difference consists in the integration of the TEGs into the heat exchanger, which are heated on one side during the burner´s operation and cooled on the other side by the heating water circuit. Hence electrical energy is generated every time heat is passed into the heating water circuit. By this a potential for primary energy savings of 6% can be expected and CO2 savings of about 7%. Therefore the thermal generator is able to operate the heating even in case of a power line failure, since the necessary auxiliary energy is provided self-sustained.
Project partners are Technische Hochschule Nuernberg Georg Simon Ohm; Interdomo GmbH, Emsdetten; metz automotive, Kuemmersbrueck; Situs Technicals GmbH, Wuppertal and Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Cologne. Thanks to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) for funding.