Freewatt Plus Demonstration Program Begins

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2010)—The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has launched an extensive demonstration program to field-test ECR International's new addition to the Freewatt micro-combined heat and power (microCHP) system it introduced in 2008. Called Freewatt Plus, the home heating system can deliver backup power when the electrical grid goes down.

Ten light commercial and residential sites in the Northeast and Midwest will use Freewatt Plus and will be monitored for one year. The data is being collected by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and shared with ECR. The collected data will help the team validate the system's reliability and performance in a variety of environments and operating conditions.

Three commercial sites will participate in the Freewatt Plus demonstration program: Danny Heineman & Sons Plumbing and Heating in Sardinia, N.Y.; Osterman Propane in Palmer, Mass.; and Mom and Tots Center in Ellsworth, Mich. Also participating are seven private homes, in Holliston, Mass.; Weymouth, Mass.; Gloucester, Mass.; Needham, Mass.; Denver, Pa.; Kittery, Maine; and Rhinebeck, N.Y. Both forced-air and hydronic propane configurations are included in the program.

The Freewatt Plus microCHP system combines a high-efficiency warm-air furnace, a propane-fueled Honda internal combustion engine, and a heat exchanger module to produce 12,000 British thermal units (Btu) of heat per hour and 1.2 kilowatts of power for homes and businesses. The system can help customers reduce energy costs by providing about 50 percent of a typical residence's annual electricity needs. Freewatt Plus provides all the benefits of Freewatt and it generates 1,800 kilowatts of backup power when the grid goes down, quietly, from inside the home. Installing a Freewatt Plus system can help homeowners avoid the damage that can be caused by a power outage and provide peace of mind during those outages. Installation may help customers qualify for an energy-efficiency tax credit.

Any Freewatt system also has notable environmental benefits. Customers who use the Freewatt system can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30 percent (almost 2 1/2 tons of carbon) compared with conventional heating and power generation technologies.

As more consumers and businesses turn to microCHP systems to reduce electricity costs and emissions while increasing reliability, highly efficient Freewatt systems are a competitive, clean, and reliable solution.

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