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Low-Cost Packaged Combined Heat and Power System


Many combined heat and power (CHP) systems less than 1 megawatt (MW) use reciprocating internal combustion engines. Unfortunately, reductions in the size of these engines are associated with reduced efficiency and increased maintenance costs.

This project will leverage core technologies developed under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Reciprocating Engine Systems (ARES) program to lower costs while increasing efficiency.

The project will result in one of the highest-efficiency systems for a CHP project less than 1 MW in size.

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Project Description

The objective of this project is to develop a flexible, 330 kW packaged CHP system that can be deployed to small industrial and commercial applications at a lower cost than other CHP solutions. The project will leverage prior engine efficiency developments established under the DOE-ARES program, and a leanburn combustion configuration will provide enhanced reliability and emissions that meet EPA standards. Remote monitoring and control utilizing predictive service and advanced diagnostics will additionally minimize maintenance costs and system down time, facilitating mass adoption. Overall, lower initial capital investments and improved system capabilities will increase the market acceptance of this small CHP packaged system.


Cummins Power Generation (CPG) and Cummins Engine Business Unit (EBU), both entities of Cummins Inc., are the primary partners for this project. To ensure that customer needs are met, CPG will perform a “voice of the customer” analysis. CPG will interview potential customers to determine the CHP characteristics most likely to lead to widespread adoption. These “voices” then translate directly into specific product prototype requirements.

As a sub-contractor to CPG, the EBU will design the advanced engine within the Cummins Technical Center (CTC). CPG will additionally manage the controls design and thermo-mechanical integration.

Once the heat recovery system, 330 kW Genset, and control system are complete, CPG will package the prototype CHP system. CPG will then integrate the prototype system into a customer site to test and measure system performance.


CPG will integrate custom and off-the-shelf components from the CHP prototype to create a new production-intent CHP product. CPG will use its Value Package Introduction (VPI) process to further decrease the cost of manufacturing and improve product reliability and robustness.

The initial product will be marketed to mainstream end-users via the Cummins Energy Solutions Business (ESB), with commercialization eventually transitioning to the extensive Cummins
distributor network.