Uniflow Power Ltd is an unlisted public company based in Canberra, Australia, dedicated to commercialising a new renewable energy technology, the Cobber, a small-scale biomass fuelled steam engine that produces useful heat, mechanical power and electricity - renewable combined heat and power on demand. If you can light a fire, with a Cobber, you will be able to make electricity.
Uniflow Power is planning the pilot production run of the Cobber, a small scale, biomass fuelled, combined heat and power, 5kW generator. An advanced pre-commercial prototype has been built and is being used as a test bed for continuing work on performance of various fuels, improving efficiency of fuel use, and designing energy off takes for services such as rotary mechanical power, hot water and distilled water. Hundreds of enquiries have already been received from all over the world for this simple but revolutionary approach to creating electricity using simple, highly efficient direct combustion of woody fuels and waste.
For nearly 3 billion people around the world agricultural wastes such as sisal, coconut shell, olive pips, animal dung, forestry waste, or other woody biomass, are the main source of fuel for heating and cooking. Many of this population also have no electricity, or live on ‘poor grids’ that do not provide reliable electricity and often have to supplement power supplies using small diesel fueled generators. Off-grid rural communities and ‘poor grid’ communities in India and South East Asia are likely to be the best early markets for our first generation products. However there are also millions of households in colder climates in developed nations who still use biomass for some or all of their space and water heating. A second generation Cobber is being designed for developed world markets that can use fuel pellets and other modern biomass fuels to provide renewably fuelled space heating, electricity and hot water on demand.
Global investment in small and distributed solar power systems was estimated to be more than USD $52 billion in 2019. However many small micro-grids still rely on a diesel generator for back up power and millions of small diesel generators are sold every year.
These are added to the tens of millions of small diesel and petrol generators that continue to be in service as stand alone generators and as part of ‘hybrid renewable energy’ systems. The Cobber has the potential to displace some of this market, reducing the need for refined fossil fuels in off grid communities.
The boom in solar power installations has created the market skills and channels for the Cobber to be installed in locations all over the world. The difference between solar systems and the Cobber is that the Cobber will make power if the sun is shining or not, at any time of the day or night or year, along with hot water production and space heating.