National DG/CHP Performance and Testing Program

Purpose: To remove a barrier to the increased use of distributed generation technologies - namely, the unavailability of uniform and documented information on the electrical, environmental, and mechanical performance of distributed generation (DG) and distributed generation/combined heat and power (DG/CHP) systems.

Scope: Interim protocols have been developed for microturbines, reciprocating engines, and small turbines up to 3 MW in laboratories and 7 MW in field applications. The goal is to establish nationally accepted laboratory and field performance testing protocols for DG systems, including those used in CHP applications. A fuel cell performance protocol is being developed, and other DG technologies may be added in the future. The performance data collected under the protocols are available through a national, Web-accessible database at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The project is not structured to develop certification standards; however, the protocols and data collected may be useful in the development of standards and certifications.

Supporting Institutions and Process: The project is funded and administered by a number of state institutions working through the Association of State Energy Research and Technology Transfer Institutions (ASERTTI), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Cooperative Agreement DE-FC36-02GO12017, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The state entities are the California Energy Commission, Energy Center of Wisconsin, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The University of Illinois - Chicago is responsible for the development and publication of case studies under the protocols. The U.S. Department of Defense Fuel Cell Test and Evaluation Center operated by Concurrent Technology Corporation became a project supporter in the Fall of 2004. The project is administered by a steering committee from these organizations as described in the protocols. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also providing support through a separate working relationship.

Contractors: The Gas Technology Institute, Underwriters Laboratories, Southern Research Institute, and Connected Energy Corp. are the principal contractors.

Public Interest and Industry Input: A 28-member Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) is a key part of this effort. It advises the development of protocols and serves as a mechanism to encourage the use of the protocols and resulting data by manufacturers and system owners and developers. The SAC consists of end users, public interest organizations, researchers, system developers, and manufacturers.

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