Renewable Energy companies showcased at Ecobuild 2010

Naturally, UK Solar visited this year's ecobuild exhibition at Earl's Court in London. Ecobuild is the biggest exhibition in the world relating to sustainable building design, and as a result many renewable energy companies showcase their wares at the show.

Over the course of the 3 days, many respected dignitaries made speeches in the various auditoriums set up around the show including Jonathan Glancey, Guardian correspondant, Johnathan Porritt, Andrew Neil, and Sir Terry Farrell.

Ecobuild conference Arena

In addition, on day one Ed Milliband announced new green loans for homeowners which will open a door for many homeowners to take out a loan to install renewable energy products that stays with the house, rather than the owner. This way, when the house comes to be sold, the prospective buyer takes on the remainder of the loan and much lower fuel bills, with the incentive that once the loan is paid off, they just benefit from the lower energy bills.

Worcester, Bosch Group showcased their Combined Heat & Power unit (CHP). A unit that generates power from a Stirling engine powered by gas, and as a natural bi-product of the power generation process, produces heat, which can be utilised to heat the home. Because of the electricity generation aspect of the product, units like this qualify for the new Feed in Tarriff (FiT) - More on this next week. (Suffice it to say, PV cells just got MUCH more interesting!) Worcester also promised to launch their Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery unit (MVHR) but disappointingly (and somewhat surprisingly), didn't feature the product on the stand!

Glow-worm showcased a new and innovative 'Hybrid' solution that uses an intelligent contoller to calculate whether it's more cost-efficient to bring on a boiler or an air-water heat pump, based on not just outdoor temperatures, but the cost per kW/h paid for both gas and electricity by the end user. We can't help but feel that for off gas areas using LPG or oil currently, this new solution could be a real winner.

Mitsubishi exhibited their wide range of 'ecodan' air-water heat pump products, and perhaps unsurprisingly, their stand had a very anti-gas feel about it. (although anyone looking at their fuel bill will surely be thinking at 1/4 of the price of electricity, we're a long way from heat pumps overtaking gas boilers in terms of sales)

Many renewable energy companies exhibited, but very few showed anything new. There were lots of solar thermal companies promoting their wares, but as far as anything new or innovotive, very little. Likewise with PV, most renewable energy companies had a Photovoltaic offering, but no-one seemed to do anything different to what we've already seen.

Another interesting and varied show, and we're already looking forward to next years! If you have any comments or observations, or were at the show and want to get in touch, drop us a line via the 'contact us' page.

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