In this paper, a detailed survey has been carried out in order to evaluate the performance of a micro combined heat and power system, based on internal combustion engine fed with natural gas as prime mover. In particular, several operating modes of the micro combined heat and power system are proposed to satisfy the electric load demand deriving from civil users. These operating modes consider a variable number of users and prime movers, as well as a variable strategy of load sharing among them. Moreover, the analysis takes into account the utilization of an electric energy storage system and a converter allowing the operation of the engine at variable speed as enabling technologies. The comparison has been done using as input a statistical profile of domestic electric load. The results, compared with the performance of the conventional systems, have highlighted a maximum natural gas saving up to 22% with consequent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, the results of simulations show that the number of engines and the engine operation at variable speed determines the greatest benefits on fuel consumption, followed by the utilization of an electric energy storage system. The load sharing strategy, among the operating engines, has, on the contrary, a secondary effect.
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