This paper describes the performance and operating experience with two residential sized Combined Heat and Power units which were in operation from 1979 through 1995. The first unit was an automatic coal fired steam electric Combined Heat and Power system, based on the Rankine Steam Cycle. The unit was initially fired in 1979, operating with a steam turbine-generator for two years, and was modified with a reciprocating expander for an additional two years operation. The unit functioned reliably, with only four forced outages during the four years of operation. The second system was diesel engine-generator based, again a Combined Heat and Power System, which was started in 1987 and operated for seven seasons into 1995. The system efficiency averaged 90% during the heating season, and showed remarkably low machinery wear and minimal maintenance during the eight year run. A technical description and performance characteristics are provided for each unit. Relevant design features, design challenges arising during operation, and details of operating experiences are discussed. Photographs, System Diagrams, and Performance Graphs of these early prototype units are included within the paper. Recommended design criteria for optimized small Distributed Generation/Combined Heat and Power units is developed in the paper.

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