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Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Integrated with Burners for Packaged Boilers

Providing Clean, Low-Cost, Onsite Distributed Generation at Very High Fuel Efficiency

This project integrated a gas-fired, simple-cycle 100 kilowatt (kW) microturbine (SCMT) with a new ultra-low nitrogen oxide (NOx) gas-fired burner (ULNB) to develop a combined heat and power (CHP) assembly called the Boiler Burner Energy System Technology (BBEST).


CHP systems can achieve significant gains in fuel efficiency for power generation and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. While large CHP systems have been installed and used for many years, small CHP systems (especially less than 250 kW in generating capacity) have seen limited market acceptance. However, the number of potential host sites for large, multi-MW CHP installations is limited by the need for significant thermal loads to fully exploit the benefits of CHP. Small CHP installations, in contrast, have a much greater potential market.

This project developed the BBEST, a CHP assembly of a gas-fired, 100 kW SCMT and a new ULNB, to increase acceptance of small CHP systems. This technology will improve reliability while reducing costs and the need for maintenance.

The project’s BBEST system will achieve an overall CHP fuel efficiency of > 80% and a power conversion efficiency of 3,800 British thermal units (Btu)/kilowatt hour. The CHP product will be used in new installations and as a retrofit for existing industrial and commercial boilers in place of conventional burners.


Project Description

This project engineered, designed, and fabricated the BBEST CHP assembly that integrates a low-cost, clean-burning, gas-fired 100 kW SCMT with a new ULNB. The compact BBEST CHP product can be used in new installations or in retrofits of existing industrial and commercial boilers.

The first part of the project includes hardware development, assembly, and preliminary testing. Each key CHP system component (ULNB, SCMT, assembly BBEST CHP package, and integrated controls) will be engineered, designed, fabricated, tested, and optimized.

The second part of this project includes field installation and demonstration testing. The fi eld verification tests will document performance of the BBEST CHP technology and its attainment of energy and emission targets, and objectives under parametric and normal boiler operation.


CMCE, Inc. (CMCE) and its subcontractor, Altex Technologies Corporation (ATC), were the key partners for this project. CMCE purchased all necessary equipment, led the SCMT optimization, integrated controls installation, and field testing. ATC led the ULNB development, assembly design, and preliminary testing of individual components, as well as supported the field testing.

The initial steps of this project were to develop the ULNB and SCMT; the chosen micro-turbine was a Turbec T-100. Once these were complete, they were assembled into an integrated BBEST CHP package. A burner management system (BMS) was designed and fabricated for the ULNB. The BMS control was integrated with the SCMT power electronics.

After preliminary testing was completed in the ATC combustion laboratory, CMCE outsourced the field installation of the system to a local burner/boiler retrofit company. The BBEST CHP technology demonstration was installed at the Westin Hotel in Costa Mesa, California and tested for its performance.


Since August 2008, CMCE and ATC have had an agreement in place to develop and commercialize BBEST integrated CHP products for packaged boilers. The BBEST technology is being commercialized under the Leva Energy brand name “Power Burner.”

Approximately 40,000 units of the target industrial and commercial boiler population are located in strict air permit areas of the country. These units require burner upgrades for emission compliance. CMCE and ATC recognize this as a near-term opportunity for the BBEST CHP technology.

The team aims to grow installations exponentially, with the goal of 3,500 BBEST CHP units installed in year 7 of sales and 15,000 units in year 10. An estimated cumulative 39,000 units (nearly one-third of the available industrial and commercial boiler population in the United States) could be installed in the first 10 years of commercialization. The successful commercialization of the developed technology will require significant investments in order to secure key suppliers and build the needed infrastructure to support installations and maintenance of field operating systems.