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Development of a pellet boiler with Stirling engine for m-CHP domestic application

Luigi Crema*, Fabrizio Alberti, Alberto Bertaso and Alessandro Bozzoli

Author Affiliations

Renewable Energies and Environmental Technologies Unit (REET), Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), Via alla Cascata 56/C, Povo Trento, Italy

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Energy, Sustainability and Society 2011, 1:5  doi:10.1186/2192-0567-1-5

Published: 21 November 2011


A new sustainable technology has been designed by Fondazione Bruno Kessler through its unit Renewable Energies and Environmental Technologies. This technology is realized integrating in a single system (1) a Stirling engine (mRT-1K) from a pre-engineering design of Allan J. Organ; (2) a micro-heat exchanger technology, to reduce the net transfer unit deficit on the hot side of the heat engine; (3) a customized pellet boiler, able to extract electrical and thermal power; and (4) a customized hydraulic circuit, connecting the cool side of the Stirling engine and the heat generation on the second section of the pellet boiler. The objective of this paper was to present a new technology for the micro-cogeneration of energy at a distributed level able to be integrated in domestic dwellings. Most part of the available biomass is used in buildings for the generation of thermal power for indoor heating and, in minor cases, for hot sanitary water. In the Province of Trento, 88% of the biomass is used for this purpose. The full system is actually under integration for the test phase and not yet tested. The first tests on the single components have confirmed preliminary results on the Stirling engine with respect to the tolerances, pressurization, and proper integration of the electrical generator-driven control system. The pellet boiler has been tested separately, confirming an overall thermal efficiency of 90%.

micro-cogeneration; Stirling engine; pellet boiler; renewable energy