The world’s first large scale commercial sales of a revolutionary new domestic appliance will be launched this winter by one of the UK’s leading energy suppliers, Powergen. The new technology will provide consumers with the majority of their energy needs at the flick of a switch, whilst allowing them to invest in green power and save money at the same time. It is expected to transform home energy usage by 2020.
Powergen has jointly developed the ‘WhisperGen’ technology with New Zealand company Whisper Tech. Over £14m and 200 man-years have been invested in the system, which is expected to replace the less efficient traditional domestic boiler. Powergen estimates that by 2020 at least 30% of households in the UK could be using the new technology.
Small enough to fit in a kitchen, each unit is powered by a mains gas supply and provides heating and hot water like a normal boiler. However, it also contains a generator, which produces electricity from the same gas supply to power lights and other electrical equipment such as televisions and hi-fis. This technology is known in the industry as micro combined heat and power and any surplus electricity will be bought back from consumers by Powergen.
The WhisperGen technology is believed to be the most extensively trialled and tested of its kind in the world. Pilots have been carried out in 50 UK homes over the past three years and this winter, for the first time, 400 new units will be available for customers to buy . If customer reaction is favourable, Powergen then aims to roll out the technology for the nationwide domestic market from 2004.
Due to its heightened efficiency and electricity generation capacity, in pilot tests the new system has been proven to save householders on average £150 per year on energy bills. The WhisperGen is also more environmentally friendly than a conventional boiler and separate electricity supply, emitting 20% less carbon dioxide per household into the atmosphere.
Paul Golby, Chief Executive, Powergen says, “ We are proud to be at the forefront of developing a technology that will have such a significant impact on home energy usage. This world first represents a huge step forward for the industry, the consumer and the environment and is part of our ongoing drive to help our customers reduce their bills and use energy more efficiently.”
David Moriarty, Managing Director, Whisper Tech says, “ We have had exceptional feedback from those consumers who have already taken part in the trials. Most have found the system easy to use, quiet and efficient and have appreciated the positive impact it has not only on their wallet but also reducing carbon emissions.”
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