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Low-Cost Packaged Combined Heat and Power System

Increasing the Market Acceptance of Smaller CHP Systems

This project is developing a flexible, packaged combined heat and power (CHP) system that produces 330 kilowatts (kW) of electrical power output and 410 kW of thermal output while increasing efficiency and reducing total cost of ownership.


Many 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 is leveraging 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. The packaged system is expected to increase the adoption rate of smaller CHP systems through simplified installation and reduced total cost of ownership.

Cummins low cost package CHP system

Project Description

This project is developing 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 is leveraging prior engine efficiency developments established under the DOE-ARES program. A lean-burn 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 performed a “voice of the customer” analysis. CPG interviewed potential customers to determine the CHP characteristics most likely to lead to widespread adoption. These “voices” then translated directly into specific product prototype requirements.

As a sub-contractor to CPG, Cummins EBU designed the advanced engine within the Cummins Technical Center (CTC). CPG also managed the controls design and thermo-mechanical integration of the system.

Once the heat recovery system, 330 kW Genset, and control system were completed, CPG produced a prototype CHP system. CPG then integrated the prototype system into a field test 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, with commercialization eventually transitioning to the extensive Cummins distributor network.