NIST has developed a test facility for micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) devices to measure their performance over a range of different operating strategies and conditions. The facility was designed to test grid interconnected and grid independent systems with natural gas as the fuel and an AC electrical output less than 6 kW.
The device's thermal load can be measured under steady-state conditions or against a simulated real-world load. The test facility can provide a steady thermal load at a specified flow rate and temperature or a realistic thermal load can be applied to the device, which can take the form of a forced-air or hydronic heating system. The test facility encompasses three rooms: an environmental chamber to simulate outdoor ambient conditions, an environmental chamber to simulate indoor ambient conditions, and a control room that houses the data acquisition and control system.