KWB is a very serious manufacturer of Austrian wood-burning boilers. In recent years, for example, it has been offering automatic boilers with pellets or shredded wood of high quality and performance.
KWB SPM module mounted on KWB automatic pellet boiler
This weekend, during an exhibition, I had the chance to speak with the Benelux boss of KWB. I quickly plugged it into the SPM which had been of great interest to me for the past few months.
Unfortunately, the reality is far from the effects of announcements from prospectuses and media articles which are generally satisfied with copied and pasted press releases.
To be honest, he strongly believes that the kWB wood stirling cogenerator will never come out. Reasons mentioned: high investment price and delicate maintenance, resulting in a very risky return on investment. This is in particular linked to problems of fouling of the exchanger ... causing the performance of the module to drop.
In the (unlikely) probability of a commercialization, the price of the module alone would be between 5 and 7000 € for 1 to 2 kW electric, which seems reasonable but let's say 0.10 € per kWh, the module should run, in the best cases (5000 € for 2kWe): 25 000h for profitability by assuming free pellets, which of course is far from the case!
KWB is therefore working on something much more promising according to him that we will talk a lot soon: a cogeneration micro wood gasifier that would completely replace the boiler!
The price and performance of this cogenerator (5kW at least) would make it much more interesting econologically speaking!
According to Jancovici, wood gasification is the electricity generation process that has the best overall energy efficiency due to the non-transformation and limited transport of fuel, despite a rather poor device performance.
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