Conference Year



self-powered, furnace, boiler, heat pump, CHP, cogeneration


Conventional fuel-fired heating devices such as furnaces, boilers, and water heaters have fuel efficiency less than 100% on the basis of higher heating value. They also require electricity from the electric grid to power parasitic loads such as blowers, pumps, fans, and ignitors. The primary energy efficiency of the device accounts for both fuel used on-site and primary energy used off-site to produce electric power used by the device. This work compares conventional fuel-fired heating devices to two types of self-powered devices. A self-powered device (SPD) integrates a power cycle onboard to eliminate consumption of grid electricity. We assume that all heat rejected by the onboard power cycle is added to the process fluid, so that, compared with a conventional device, the same amount of heat is provided to the process fluid and the same amount of fuel is consumed, but grid electricity consumption is eliminated. The first SPD type is the basic one: exactly the electricity required is generated. The second type considered is the SPD with heat pump (SPD-HP), in which the power cycle generates more electricity than needed for parasitic loads, and the excess electricity is used to power a heat pump. The heat pump extracts additional heat from the ambient to boost efficiency. Both SPD and SPD-HP self-consume all the generated electricity, in contrast to combined heat and power (CHP) systems that export electricity. In this work, equations are derived to express the efficiency of three classes of heating devices: conventional (consuming grid electricity), self-powered (consuming no grid electricity), and self-powered with heat pump. The efficiency of each is derived as a function of up to six factors: (1) the fraction of combustion heat captured, (2) the rate of parasitic power consumption, (3) the fraction of electric energy dissipated as useful heat, (4) the power cycle conversion efficiency, (5) the grid efficiency, when applicable, and (6) the heat pump COP, when applicable. Scenarios are identified in which it is possible to achieve efficiency greater than 100% on a higher heating value basis. Plausible configurations using existing technology options are outlined.