Tiny is beautiful – fuel cell CHP

s-hodgson-1407cospp

Could five million tiny, domestic-scale ‘power stations’ based on fuel cell technology replace several full-size gas-fired power stations and generate a significant proportion of UK power needs – in the next 15 years?

A collection of Europe-based developers of ‘smart power units’ believes so, and cite progress already made with fuel cell micro-CHP technology in Japan and elsewhere as back-up for their claims.

The transfer of some power generation from utilities into the hands of millions of customers would deliver a set of material benefits for the UK economy – according to a new report from Ecuity Consulting on behalf of the six developers: Baxi, Ceramic Fuel Cells, Ceres Power, IE-CHP, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and Viessmann.
Fuelcell Micro CHP

The inherently high efficiency of fuel cell CHP units means that users would cut their energy bills by 20% or more; the UK would burn about 7% less gas; and carbon dioxide emissions savings would equal those resulting from building 11 carbon capture and storage plants, says Ecuity. In addition, around 5 GW of new flexible and distributed generating capacity would be added to the electricity system.

All that’s needed is a series of policy interventions to include a grant scheme for early installations and continuing feed-in tariff support for fuel cell smart power units. With 22 million UK homes and premises suitable for micro-CHP, the installation of 5 million units is achievable, adds Ecuity. In 2012 Japan set a goal of powering 2 million homes by micro-CHP by 2020 and now plans to roll out fuel cell systems to more than 5 million homes by 2030. Japan’s Ene-Farm capital subsidy scheme for micro-CHP delivered 20,000 new micro-CHP installations during 2012 alone.

Meanwhile, Germany has established a highly-supportive policy and subsidy structure for fuel cells and micro-CHP and aims to install 72,000 units per year by 2020. South Korea is racing ahead with larger fuel cell installations, including the world’s largest fuel cell park in Daegu City, with a generating capacity of over 11 MW, and the US state of California has seen fuel cells begin to dominate its highly-successful Self Generation Incentive Program.

Europe has waited a long time for micro-CHP technology to take off, and attention has shifted from earlier units based on Stirling and internal combustion engines to those based on fuel cells, mainly because of their higher electrical efficiencies. Could it be that fuel cell smart power systems lead a radical shift from remote, inefficient power-only stations to a system incorporating millions of distributed units?

Latest Wire News

Global Project Restarts Surpass $65 Billion for Second-Quarter 2016, an Industrial Info News Alert

20/06/2016 Global Project Restarts Surpass $65 Billion for Second-Quarter 2016, an Industrial Info News Alert

PowerVerde, Inc., Enters Into Broad Licensing Agreement Focusing on Waste Heat-to-Power Solutions Using Organic Rankine Cycle and Advanced Steam Technology

20/06/2016 PowerVerde, Inc., Enters Into Broad Licensing Agreement Focusing on Waste Heat-to-Power Solutions Using Organic Rankine Cy...

Pacific Ag Acquires Calagri

16/06/2016 Pacific Ag Acquires Calagri

Article Archives for Decentralized Energy - Formally known as Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine

Current Issue

05/01/2016
Volume 17, Issue 3

industry-opinion-hdr

Energy access: It's the policy, stupid

14/06/2016

Policy, not finance, is the biggest obstacle to scaling decentralized re...

The inexorable path towards distributed solar

14/06/2016

Can anyone still deny the strength and pace of change within the world’s...

On-site generators on both sides of the pond

20/05/2016

Decentralized Energy readers may be familiar with the excellent data pro...

Planning for winds of change in offshore renewables

13/05/2016

In the last five years, the UK’s offshore wind industry has built enough...

E.ON moves away from ‘conventional’ power

10/05/2016

‘Our objective is to make E.ON into a leading company of the distributed...

Electrification in emerging countries - distributed or centralized energy?

29/04/2016

As distributed energy and battery storage develop at an increasingly rap...

Not the most expensive object on the planet

26/04/2016

Local power plants are rather easier to finance than a new wave of fossi...

Latest Digital Edition

 Decentralized Energy, formally known as Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production
Cover
Current Issue
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn  Email Us
/** * jQuery.marquee - scrolling text like old marquee element * @author Aamir Afridi - aamirafridi(at)gmail(dot)com / http://aamirafridi.com/jquery/jquery-marquee-plugin */