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samzenpus from the 1000-tiny-smoke-stacks dept.
Dr. Hok writes "As more and more renewable energy enters the grid, it gets increasingly difficult to match supply and demand 24/7. The answer of German power company Lichtblick and Volkswagen is a swarm of 100,000 flexible base-load generators. These fridge-sized CHP (Combined Heat and Power) generators that will be installed in people's basements in Hamburg starting early next year will feed electricity into the grid and the waste heat into their home's water/heating. The "ZuhauseKraftwerk" (HomePowerPlant) features a vanilla VW Golf natural-gas engine that generates 20kW electrical and 34 kW heat with an efficiency of 92%. The units are remotely controlled via a mobile network or DSL; they can ramp up in a minute if needed. A water tank ensures that heat is continuously available, while electricity is produced on demand. The swarm will replace two nuclear plants, they say. And your old oil heating needed replacement anyway."