Home Generator Benchmarking Program

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Corvallis, Oregon
Project Term:
07/15/2014 - 07/31/2016

Critical Need:

In the increasing wake of natural disasters, many homeowners are choosing to invest in backup generators to ensure their home has a reliable source of electricity in the event of an emergency. Other homeowners and commercial building owners may wish to utilize a generator to co-generate electricity and heat for their building, to complement a rooftop solar system, or as part of a small local electric grid (i.e. a micro-grid). However, today’s small generators are poorly understood in terms of performance and may have high operating cost or limited lifetimes, making it difficult for homeowners and business owners to get the best value from their purchases.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Oregon State University (OSU) will precisely measure the performance of three commercially-available home generators. The team will collect data on engine efficiency, endurance, emissions, and calculate a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for each generator. Published data on the performance of small generators is scarce, which has hampered efforts to identify where new technologies can be applied to improve the efficiency of small generators. The rigorous and repeatable measurements collected through this project will be an important step forward in developing future high-performance distributed power generation systems.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Ji-Cheng Zhao
Project Contact:
Dr. Chris Hagen
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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