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Are there any affordable single home cogen furnaces available?

AlanB4 | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Just wondering, they were on the news a few years ago, never to be heard from again.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    You are probably thinking of the Honda FreeWatt distributed by Climate Energy / ECR International.

    Sales in the U.S. were poor, so distribution was discontinued. As far as I know, these units are no longer available in the U.S.

    [P.S. It looks like Dana and I posted our comments nearly simultaneously...]

  2. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #2

    Climate Energy sold themselves to ICR International, who carried the "Freewatt" product for a few years before dropping it. One of the guys in my office has one of the Freewatt hydronic boiler systems in his house- that tiny kilowatt Honda is still purring away in the basement all winter, and is still being supported, but there are no longer any North American distributors of that product.

    Marathon Engine's 9 kilowatt EcoPower is kinda overkill for the loads of most high-R houses, but could be used to advantage in large older stock houses utilizing the excess electrical power for heat pumps. Yanmar's 5 and 10 kilowatt micro cogens are similarly oversized. These also have to be custom-designed into the heating system, unlike Climate Energy's pre-engineered pre-packaged systems.

    Most micro-cogeneration in the US now is targeted toward commercial building applications. Since super storm Sandy there has been a lot of interest in island-able micro-grids, where both Marathon and Yanmar have something reasonable to offer at the small-commercial building scale, but at the pipsqueak 1-2kw single family residence scale it's something of a desert out there.

  3. AlanB4 | | #3

    Freewatt sounds familiar. It sucks they were discontinued, a 1-2kW would have been nice
    Thanks for the near simultaneous answers :)

  4. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #4

    Honda is still making tiny cogens, but mostly for the domestic market, which as I understand it saw a pretty big uptick after the Fukushima incident idled the nuclear power fleet for the entire country. (PV sales have also gone into overdrive since that time.)

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