British Gas partnered with Ceres Power back in 2005 and have been busy developing a fuel cell boiler, also known as a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) boiler which will not only heat your home but also generates electricity.
Conventional boilers convert gas into heat by burning it, the CHP unit works in a very different way by passing natural gas though a fuel cell which creates heat and electricity via a chemical process. The technology is not new but it’ll be the first time it’s to be used on large scale in UK domestic households.
British Gas is currently testing the unit in 30 UK homes and predicts the unit to be commercially available by 2010. Baxi may beat British Gas to it after recently launching their Ecogen CHP boiler which should be available early next year.
The new fuel cell CHP boilers have the potential of producing more electricity than required which could provide an opportunity for householders to sell the electricity back to British Gas. Smart Planet put this question to British Gas which said they had not yet decided if they would buy back unused energy.
British Gas are estimating that average annual savings could be as much as a quarter off a household gas and electricity bill using a modern high efficiency condensing boiler. The price of the new boiler has not yet been decided but will apparently be only slightly more than a modern condensing boiler with a payback of around 5 years.