“What do you do, when you are ahead of the rest?” Michael Colijn Paris 29-30 May 2008 Gas Industry Workshop on microCHP
- The Product - (from idea to commerce)
WhisperGen MicroCHP System Enclosure Additional burner Burner Exhaust Heat Exchanger Coreengine Fan Electricaloutput Gas valve/controller Alternator Heatingwater circuit
The WhisperGen Stirling Engine Technical Details Model / Housing MkV AC Generator gas fired, floor standing unit Motor Double acting 4-Cylinder-Stirling-CyclePower Electric: 1.000W AC at 220 – 240V.Heat: Standard heat output 7,5kW and maximum heat output 12kWFuel Natural gas [most types]Grid connection 4-pole Asynchronous,IEC connection Size & Weight 480 x 560 x 840 (B x D x H)<137 kgEnvironment Ambient temp: 0-45°CHumidity: 0-95%Flue gas Horizontal or vertical connectionCertification CE-marked & local accreditation
The WhisperGen EU1 • Based on the same 4-cylinder design • Principle is: reliability, stability, manufacturability • If anybody claims to have a product, there are only 3 questions to ask: • Can you make it in volume for <Euro 1500? • Can I buy one today? • Can you show a mean life of +10 yrs
The Marriage – (of a little girl with a BIG BOY)
WhisperGen Here’s what Wikipedia has to say: • WhisperGen, a New Zealand-based company has developed stirling engines that can be powered by natural gas or diesel. Recently an agreement has been signed with Mondragon Corporación Cooperativa, a Spanish firm, to produce WhisperGen's microCHP and make them available for the domestic market in Europe. • Founded: 1995 based on a development by Don Clucas • Employees: 100 • Ranking: 1st Commercial Stirling microCHP company worldwide • Structure: Limited Company, >93% owned by Meridian Energy, New Zealand’s largest energy supplier that is 100% Government owned
WhisperGen So what have they manufactured in Christchurch? • Since its start in 1995, WhisperGen has manufactured 2500+ units • 7 large winter trials of >500 units across Europe • 15 different locations & countries • Life time testing of >100.000 hours cumulatively • Longest running units have +10 years life • Proven reliability: lab, field trials, with end-users • Proven energy saving, proven carbon saving • Proven commercial viability
WhisperGen • So where do they make these WhisperGens? WhisperGen “country” Christchurch
Mondragon Cooperative Corporation Here’s what Wikipedia has to say: • The Mondragón Cooperative Corporation is a group of manufacturing and retail companies based in the Basque Country and extended over the rest of Spain and abroad. It is one of the world's largest worker cooperatives and one important example of workers' self-management • Founded: 1956 by a priest, Father Arizmendi • Employees: 100.000+, and still growing • Structure: Workers Cooperative • Turnover: Euro 14 billion  • Total Assets: Euro 43 billion • Ranking: 7th largest industrial group
Mondragon Cooperative Corporation So what do they manufacture, apart from WhisperGens? • They make >1000 different products in >100 factories, with a total space of more than >1 million football fields • But for us – today – it is important to know they make >1,000,000 gas fired heating appliances per year. And they make engines for Europe’s largest car brands, and they make >8m units of whitegoods (fridges, washing machines etc) per year. • The combined knowledge of gas industry, white goods appliances and automotive is why WhisperGen wanted to work with MCC.
Mondragon Cooperative Corporation So where do they manufacture these WhisperGens? MCC “country” Mondragon
The Joint Venture WhisperGen MCC EHE Efficient Home Energy Production of WhisperGens for Europe in Europe
The Joint Venture • Based in the Basque Country • On its own land • Own factory line • Using expertise, personnel and logistics from both MCC and WhisperGen • Initial line of 30,000 units p.a. • Low volume production Q4 2008 • Slowly ramping up towards end 2009 • Distribution in Europe • Main distribution partners identified • Network in 6 key countries established • Service team functional & experienced
- The Test – (the proof of the pudding)
The Test • High number of installations • In different countries • Different partners • At least 3 winters • Integrate your findings • To build commercial product
Where are those WhisperGens? B: Lab tests NL: 5th year S: Several sites UK: 6th year D: Many trials IR: large trial A: Trials CH: Trials SI: Test units FR: Large trials IT: Field trials ES: Trials P: Several sites
Future Tech: The Virtual Power Plant Testing the strength of the network with 48 WhisperGens
Future Tech: The Virtual Power Plant Testing the strength of the network with 48 WhisperGens • Conclusions from the test with WhisperGens on the Grid: • The Network is SAFE • The Network is STABLE • WhisperGen can be INSTALLED without any special changes
- Next steps – (toward a real microCHP market)
Next steps • Stop the “next year” syndrome, by starting production now • Work with industry to call for fair & open access to market – grid connection, gas efficiency standards • Fight unfair standards with aligned companies and governments
Next steps • The most important issue for microCHP is that governments understand its simplicity: • Our technology gives energy saving • Energy saving = carbon reduction • At all cost we – collectively – need to avoid overcomplicated calculations that do not work thermodynamically, and nobody understands • WhisperGen/EHE will continue to work with industry on collective standards and government support across Europe for a range of technologies
What can we learn from Alice in Wonderland? • “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. • If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” Alice takes advice from the Queen...
“So, what do you do, when you are ahead of the rest?” 1.You look for confirmation in what you are doing by testing, testing, testing 2.You work with fellow developers & future competitors to develop the market, fair standards And 3.You keep running as fast as you can, because there is nothing less certain than staying in front.