Once installed in the test facility, the micro-CHP device, its ambient environment, and the conditions of the heat transfer fluid can be controlled to perform a variety of tests. The outdoor environmental chamber houses the micro-CHP device, and it can vary the ambient temperature from -18°C to 40°C (0°F to 104°F) and the relative humidity from 20% to 100%. Any equipment that would typically be installed indoors, which includes domestic hot water storage, pumps, etc., is placed in the indoor chamber. The indoor environmental chamber has the full range of ambient temperatures and relative humidity as the outdoor chamber, but the conditions will be maintained at more typical indoor conditions.
The test facility has a full suite of data acquisition equipment to measure the device's electrical output, thermal heat recovery, and fuel use. For electrical output to the existing grid, a power analyzer measures the true power, RMS voltage and current, and power factor. To simulate a system that is not connected to the electrical grid, an AC load draws and measures electrical power from the CHP system. A calorimeter continually monitors the heating value of the fuel entering the system. Thermocouples and platinum resistance thermometers measure the temperature rise of the water used for domestic hot water heating. A turbine and magnetic flow meter measure the flow of water for the domestic hot water system. With these values, all of the energy produced and consumed by the CHP can be determined.