Stirling Hybrid Forced Air Comfort System

Detached single family dwellings make up a significant portion of the Canadian marketplace and many homeowners are wondering about how to reduce their energy footprint in order to save money, reduce the use of fossil fuels and benefit the environment.

The Stirling engine installed beside the furnace, provided an initial stage of heating and electricity to the home

The Stirling engine installed beside the furnace, provided an initial stage of heating and electricity to the home

Phase 1 of this project took place in early 2009. During the heating season, a modern AC Stirling engine was operated on a thermal management strategy to provide domestic hot water by heating an indirectly fired water storage tank. After the water tank was hot enough, the Stirling engine also provided space heat to the test house via a coil in a forced-air heating system. Supplementary space heat was supplied by an Olsen high-efficiency 2-stage natural gas forced air furnace. The Stirling engine met some of the home's electrical needs, and exported excess electricity to the local distribution grid at times when it generated more than the house needed. The grid supplied electricity to the home when the engine did not meet all of the home's electrical load.

The project hopes to demonstrate how a micro-cogeneration unit can be economically integrated with a natural gas burning forced air furnace, a technology typically found in Canadian homes. This configuration should be more economical to the homeowner (in terms of capital investment) than the "combi" approach previously tested with cogeneration units at the CCHT. Thus, this project phase will demonstrate the configuration most immediately viable for mass market penetration of micro-cogeneration devices in Canada.

This project is currently at the reporting stage.