New CSA Standard Helps Facilitate Adoption of Combined Heat and Power Appliances

With the world's growing energy demands and commitments to decarbonization and net-zero targets, there is a strong need for more efficient appliances and clean energy sources. Combined heat and power (CHP) appliances present an alternative capable of supporting the modern energy grid in a stable and secure manner, improving system efficiency, and lowering energy costs. However, as more types of CHP devices enter the marketplace, it is important to ensure their safety and reliability.

CHP technology for improved energy efficiency

CHP systems use a single energy source to generate both electricity and thermal energy at the point of use. CHPs capture wasted thermal energy that can be used for heating or power generation, resulting in improved total energy use and efficiency.

By cogenerating heat and power, fuel is used more efficiently, helping reduce the overall costs. At the same time, cogeneration leads to significant carbon emission reductions compared to the conventional separate generation of power and heat. By producing energy and heat at the point of use, CHP systems also reduce the energy transmission and distribution losses, contributing to further energy cost reductions.

Users and manufacturers call for standardization

As with other new technologies, introduction to the market brings its own set of challenges. Users of CHP appliances, installers, as well as regulators require assurances that these devices meet expectations of safety and reliability.

Product certification is a well-recognized way to provide such assurances. However, without a technology-specific standard and a consistent set of requirements, manufacturers of CHP appliances are challenged with trying to obtain independent certification of their products.

Developing a well-balanced standard through consensus

Recognizing this need, CSA Group set out to develop a new bi-national standard. A Joint Technical Subcommittee on Standards for Combined Heat and Power Appliances with members from different organizations - regulatory bodies, gas safety associations, provincial regulators, gas utilities, as well as manufacturers started working on the draft standard.

The consensus-based approach and balanced representation of stakeholders on the committee helped ensure that different perspectives were considered, and the resulting standard CSA/ANSI 13.1:22, Combined heat and power appliances, offers proper safety requirements for a wide variety of very complex equipment.

New Standard lays out a certification path for a broad range of CHP technologies

Combining design best practices and standardized requirements for cogeneration devices into a single standard is an important step in increasing user confidence while helping to ensure CHP devices entering the market meet expectations of safety and reliability. For manufacturers, CSA/ANSI 13.1:22 provides a clear set of requirements to meet in the design of newly produced CHP appliances with a maximum net electrical power output of 50kW - whether they produce internal combustion CHPs, thermoelectric generators, exhaust heat reclaimers, fuel cell CHPs, vapor expansion cycle CHPs or Stirling engine CHPs.

For certification bodies, construction requirements and test methods outlined in the Standard provide a basis to assess the safety of CHPs. Moreover, the Standard provides a harmonized path for product certification across Canada and the US and helps remove possible barriers for manufacturers.

The road ahead

To meet decarbonization and emission targets implemented to combat climate change, CSA expects these technologies and the entire gas industry to continue evolving toward using cleaner, more sustainable fuels. Hydrogen-blended natural gas and, in the future, pure hydrogen are currently being evaluated as alternative fuels for appliances that currently use natural gas. CHP appliances could use these alternative fuels, which would help further expand the use of natural gas in both residential and industrial installations.

The CSA/ANSI 13.1:22 standard is available on the CSA Store.

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