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Residential fuel cell CHP units could “revolutionise” UK energy market – report

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:39 -- Laura Varriale
fuel cell powered CHP units

Fuel cell-powered combined heat and power (CHP) units could be profitable for 90% of UK households, according to a report by Ecuity Consulting LLP.

The report, developed on behalf of UK fuel cell developers, highlights that the installation of more than 5.3m fuel cell CHP units by 2030, allowing power consumers to generate heat and electricity themselves, would reduce energy bills by 21%. The fuel cell powered homes would produce 5GW of flexible energy capacity, which is equal to 14 gas fired power stations, according to the report.

“By de-centralising power generation and producing it in your home instead of centralised power stations, our technology empowers the consumer to produce clean, affordable, efficient and controllable energy where it is needed in the home, at twice the efficiency of centralised power stations,” said Mark Bugler technical director, at IE-CHP.

Fuel cells can be run on natural gas as well as zero carbon alternatives such as biomethane and hydrogen. Therefore it reduces CO2 emissions, the report says. The study bases its assumptions on the installation of fuel cell units in other countries, such as Japan and Germany.

The report “Fuel cells the smart power revolution” can be found here: http://www.ecuity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/FUEL-CELLS-THE-SMART-PO...


Aquafuel to power Formula E racecars with glycerol

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 14:46 -- Laura Varriale
Formule E racecar

UK start-up Aquafuel Research is to power next year’s Formula E racecars with electricity generated from glycerol-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) generators.

Aquafuel Research’s modified diesel-engined CHP generators to combust glycerine, produced from salt-water algae. The generated electricity will be used to recharge the electric racecars.

"It's a very innovative compound. It comes from algae so it's a first generation compound and it uses glycerine so it has no CO2 emissions, no smoke, no noise, no smell,” said Formula E's sustainability manger Julia Pallé.

As the technology is new, the generators will have to travel to every nine hosting places. "We can't implement it in the country so we have to ship and transport it. But since we're starting from scratch the first year we have to deal with what we have and in future seasons we hope to be able to produce on site," said Pallé.

According to Aquafuel Research chief executive Paul Day, a salt water algal pond the size of Switzerland would meet the global energy demand. Algae do not compete with agricultural land like other biofuel feedstocks.

The first Formula E race will take place in Beijing, China, in September.

MTU Onsite gas gensets compliant with medium-voltage directive

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:54 -- Laura Varriale
MTU Onsite Energy

MTU Onsite Energy (MTU) has received certification for its series 4000 gas gensets to be compliant with Germany's medium-voltage directive.

The certification issued by Germany’s Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry enables the gas generators to feed generated power into the public grid.

The series 4000 has a power output from 750kW to 2,600kW. According to MTU, the gensets achieve up to 44.3% electrical efficiency.

“Being armed with this certificate puts us in a very strong position on the market for gas gensets,” said Jörg Mielke, head of sales in Germany at MTU. MTU modified the gensets to meet the certification requirements.

Germany’s Renewable Energy Act and the Combined Heat and Power Act has led to an explosion in distributed power generation. MTU aims to provide static and dynamic grid support with the supply of reactive power or automatic reduction output as well as with its combined heat and power and biogas plants.

NRG Energy invests $35m in FuelCell Energy

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 10:30 -- Laura Varriale
FuelCell Energy

US-based NRG Energy has bought $35m of FuelCell Energy shares and extended a $40m loan.

The investment enables power-plant developer FuelCell to invest in project development, project finance and working capital support.

“These agreements strengthen the Company’s liquidity position and are expected to accelerate deployment of multi-megawatt fuel cell projects in the U.S.,” said Chip Bottone, FuelCell’s chief executive officer.

FuelCell CFO Michael Bishop said the company aims to finish power plant projects in order to sell the fully operational power plants to long term investors.

“We believe that clean distributed power generation from fuel cells will be one of the key technologies that drive our country toward a cleaner energy future,” said Mauricio Gutierrez, NRG’s Energy chief operating officer.

NRG Energy now owns 6% of FuelCell. “We want to actively participate in the construction of FuelCell Energy power plants,” Gutierrez added. NRG Energy and FuelCell are working together to build combined heat and power projects. The terms of the equity transaction include a warrant giving NRG Energy the right to purchase an additional 2m shares for $3.35 each.

The investment follows a €4.9m ($6.6m) funding to FuelCell and partner Fraunhofer Institute for stationary fuel cell research, given by German government in July.

Newcastle research team reveals “trigeneration” off-grid CHP system

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 16:43 -- Laura Varriale
Newcastle University

A consortium led by Newcastle University has developed a small-scale off-grid combined heat and power (CHP) system incorporating an energy storage system (ESS).

The small-scale CHP system, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), uses waste heat to provide cooling and heat as well as power. A domestic-scale tri-generation system of this type would be rated between 6kW and 9kW electricity.

The ESS is designed to provide dependable electricity and to cope with daily fluctuation demand for electricity without a connection to the grid. “Our solution was to incorporate advanced electrical storage into the system, both batteries and the latest supercapacitors, combined with innovative system control,” said Tony Roskilly, professor at Newcastle University.

To make the system greener and accessible for isolated homes in developing countries, the CHP is run by biofuels. “We developed a system for using the oils obtained from pressing crop seeds, like those from jatropha and croton,” said Roskilly. The crops can grow in harsh environments and do not affect food production, according to the researchers.

The team also included researchers from University of Leeds, University of Ulster and three Chinese universities.

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