A natural gas-fired micro-cogenerator (MCHP) based on a reciprocating internal combustion engine that drives an electric heat pump (EHP), MCHP/EHP, has been analyzed. It allows a high degree of flexibility in terms of operating conditions, due to the possibility to use the two devices separately supplying electric and thermal (heating and cooling) energy (CCHT, Combined Cooling Heating and Power). The MCHP/EHP is a gas cooling technology that can contribute to optimize the natural gas and electricity consumptions in those countries where the HVAC systems are widespread. In particular, our interest was focused on micro-cogenerators (electric power ≤ 15 kW) at the moment available on the market, based on reciprocating internal combustion engine, that could have a great diffusion in the near future for domestic and light commercial applications. Starting by the results of an intense experimental activity an exergetic, economic and environmental analysis has been carried out to compare the proposed MCHP/EHP system to the conventional one based on separate “production”.

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