ATLANTA, GA – Seminar 6 of ASHRAE’s Technical Program was “Self-Powered Heating Systems: Saving Electricity and Improving Reliability.” Ray Albrecht of NYSEDA, chair of the session, pointed out, “With the California energy crisis, this subject has taken on more importance.”

Discussing the evolution of self-powered appliances, David Brownell of Yankee Scientific talked about heaters that produce their own power, generators that also produce heat, and battery-powered appliances.

New technology, he said, will bring mid- to high-power applications to market.

Richard Oman of Insight Technologies talked about creating a practical oil-fired heating system with reduced electric power consumption and battery backup.

The prototype burner developed cuts electrical power tenfold, he said. Using 12 vdc components allows standalone operation with survival heating levels of about 24 hours.

Brownell also provided a presentation on the development of liquid-injected cogeneration for the home. Micro-cogeneration provides residential-scale heat and power. Power is extracted from combustion products before heat is supplied for end use.

Such a system, he asserted, will be able to provide 100% of the required heat in a home, and nearly eliminate the homeowner’s electric bill in wintertime.

Finally, Thomas Butcher of Brookhaven National Laboratory spoke on thermophotovoltaics. When you generate electric power in this way, you have to control the light spectrum that hits the photovoltaic cells. Light goes from emitter to filter and then to the cells.

This technology is in an early state of development, he said. But it is fuel flexible and improvements are underway.