In a joint announcement at the launch of Europe’s first megawatt scale fuel cell, Friatec (part of the Aliaxis Group), E.ON and Fuelcell Energy Solutions stated that fuel cell technology will be key to providing clean low carbon power in the energy-intensive sector.
Energy history is in the making in Mannheim, they said, as the first European fuel cell of megawatt size is now operating there. Unlike conventional power plants, this delivers heat and electricity in a process that is virtually free from pollutants, making it a milestone for the green energy of the future. Over the course of at least ten years, this innovative plant will provide clean energy for the production processes of materials specialist Friatec.
With a capacity of 1.4 megawatts, this fuel cell power plant is the only one of its kind in Europe to date. In terms of technology and environmental protection, fuel cells represent a promising alternative to conventional combined heat and power plants. In comparison with other decentralized technologies such as gas turbines, they use fuel sources far more efficiently. In addition, they generate power in a non-combustion process which is virtually free from pollutants. By using this fuel cell, Friatec will be able to reduce its CO2 emissions by approximately 3,000 tons per year.
The fuel cell power plant was installed in only nine months by E.ON Connecting Energies and FuelCell Energy Solutions, who have entered into a long-term energy partnership to offer high-performing, clean fuel cell technology to customers in energy-intensive sectors.
Klaus Wolf of Friatec stated: “E.ON and FuelCell Energy Solutions are our long-term partners. Sustainability is at the top of our agenda and the construction of this fuel cell power plant is a great opportunity to make our stance publicly known. This environmentally friendly power plant was a logical step on our way to continually improve our production processes in the context of our environmental management.”
Karsten Wildberger, a member of the E.ON SE Board of Directors, added: “Fuel cells are one of the key technologies for the clean energy world of tomorrow. The inauguration of this plant is a very special occasion for us, since such highly innovative, economical, and clean solutions are at the core of the new E.ON.”
Chip Bottone, CEO of FuelCell Energy, stated: “Together with E.ON, we are able to implement fuel cell power plants with capacities in the multi-megawatt range. This partnership allows us to introduce our fuel cell power plants, which have already proven themselves in many locations around the world, into new markets.”
A 3.7MW FUEL CELL IN CONNECTICUT FOR LOCAL ENERGY GENERATION
FuelCell Energy has developed a power project which will enable utilities to affordably and cleanly solve power generation challenges where land space is limited. This is a breakthrough in transforming power generation networks to a cleaner, more affordable and capital efficient model that meets the needs of global economies today.
Construction is beginning of a 3.7 megawatt fuel cell power plant in Danbury, Connecticut, following approval by the Connecticut Siting Council. “We are enhancing the electrical efficiency of this fuel cell power plant by configuring the fuel cell modules in a series to utilize the fuel to the greatest degree possible,” said Tony Rauseo, Chief Operating Officer of FuelCell Energy. “This is a really innovative design targeting utility and data center applications.”
FuelCell Energy’s standard 2.8 megawatt DFC3000® power plant utilizes two fuel cell modules operating in parallel. The new 3.7 megawatt configuration adds a third module that utilizes unused fuel from the other two fuel cell modules as well as heat, along with some natural gas input to economically and efficiently produce additional power.
The 3.7 megawatt power plant, adequate to power approximately 3,700 average size homes, will occupy only a ¼ of an acre of an industrial lot near an existing electrical substation. FuelCell Energy has executed a long term lease for the land and expects to sell the power to the local utility, supplying the power to a nearby electrical substation.
Multi-megawatt fuel cell installations solve power generation challenges as the combination of near-zero pollutants, modest land-use needs, and the quiet operating nature of fuel cell power plants facilitates their siting in urban locations. Construction is rapid, with one 59 MW fuel cell park being built and operational in only 14 months.
ON SITE AFFORDABLE POWER
“Our business model of locating clean and affordable power near where the power is used acts to spur urban redevelopment by enhancing local infrastructure and generating property and sales tax revenue for municipal and state governments to a degree that other clean distributed power generation projects have difficult matching,” said Michael Bishop, Chief Financial Officer of FuelCell Energy. “The high availability of fuel cells drives significant renewable energy credit generation, supporting both project economics and state-level renewable power standards.”
PROCESSING BIOGAS FROM WASTE WATER IN RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA
FuelCell Energy has commenced commercial operation of a megawatt-class fuel cell power plant at the Riverside Regional Water Quality Control Plant in Riverside, California. The project is structured so that the City of Riverside pays for the power produced, achieving immediate operating cost savings without any capital outlay and in a manner that supports the City’s sustainability goals.
The water treatment process generates methane, a greenhouse gas. If this is recycled to produce energy, the process is carbon-neutral. Through the use of anaerobic digesters, the water quality plant captures the methane, which FuelCell Energy then cleans and uses as the fuel source to generate power for the wastewater treatment process, as well as heat needed by the anaerobic digesters.
The biogas must be cleaned before being directed into the fuel cells, which requires a separate system. “Previously our customers had to obtain this themselves,” said Tony Rauseo. “Based upon decades of wastewater industry experience and comprehensive engineering and design capabilities we now manufacture our own gas clean-up system, he added. This enables us to ensure the quality of the clean-up and to take responsibility for the entire solution for our customer.”
The Riverside wastewater treatment facility can process approximately 40 million gallons of wastewater per day in an around-the-clock operation. The continuous power profile of the fuel cells supports the treatment process, utilizing approximately two thirds of the biogas generated which provides about one third of the power needed by the facility.
CLEAN ENERGY FROM WASTE WATER
FuelCell Energy converts the problem of disposing of wastewater emissions into cost savings for municipal water treatment facilities. The advantages of using their system to obtain clean energy from waste water are:
Complete turn-key wastewater solution for cleaning the biogas, generating ultra-clean power and heat, and operating and maintaining the gas clean-up system and the fuel cell power plant.
Power purchase agreements that avoid any need for the municipality to invest directly in the power generation or gas clean-up equipment.
Avoidance of clean air regulations as fuel cells utilize an electrochemical process that produces power in a manner that is virtually free from criterion pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) that causes smog, sulfur dioxide (SOx) that contributes to acid rain, or particulate matter that can aggravate asthma.
Improved reliability of energy production with affordable on-site power.
FuelCell Energy has a complete system generating clean power from waste water. It cleans the gas and generates electricity and heat on site.