Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited (AIM / ASX: CFU) a leading developer of generators which use fuel cell technology to convert natural gas into electricity and heat for homes and other buildings, is pleased to announce that 25 of its BlueGen gas-to-electricity units are being used to power Germany’s first commercial, virtual fuel cell power plant.
The virtual power plant was officially opened yesterday by Mr Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment, Mr Johannes Remmel, Minister for the Environment in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, together with Mr Bernd Wilmert, Chairman of the Board of the municipal utility network Trianel, and Sven Becker, CEO of Trianel.
A virtual power plant is a cluster of distributed electricity generation units, controlled and operated by a central entity using integrated software systems. A virtual power plant allows power generation to be modulated up or down to meet peak loads and balance intermittent power from wind or solar, with higher efficiency and more flexibility than large centralised power stations. Producing energy where it is needed eases the burden on electricity distribution networks and prevents distribution losses, which can amount to as much as 10 percent from large power plants using conventional generation methods.
The Trianel network will offer BlueGen units to end customers as part of its EnergieBlock® micro combined heat and power offering.
During the opening ceremony at the Eurogress congress centre in Aachen, Mr Altmaier declared that distributed electricity generation and energy efficiency, along with a coordinated expansion of renewable energies and electricity grids on a national level, are central elements of the electricity market of tomorrow: “Virtual power plant networks are progressive milestones on the way to a successful energy reform,” Altmaier said.
The virtual power plant connects 25 BlueGen units, which convert natural gas into electricity and heat with the world’s highest electrical efficiency. Ceramic Fuel Cells and its local distributor sanevo blue energy, based outside Frankfurt, have delivered the 25 BlueGen units to Trianel. So far 15 municipal utilities in Germany as well as the Energie Kompetenz Zentrum Rhein-Erft-Kreis GmbH are involved in the project. The municipal utilities are installing the BlueGen units in their customer centres and with selected customers. There are also plans to roll out the BlueGen units to end customers in apartment buildings and commercial properties.
Mr Remmel, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister for the Environment, has praised the municipal utilities’ commitment to working on innovative solutions for developing efficient and environmentally friendly energy generation. “North Rhine-Westphalia is the state for energies of the future and needs more utilities of the future for an accelerated energy transition. Combined heat and power [CHP] should play an important role in our federal state. Therefore, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is planning a support programme for CHP of 250 million Euros. Our goal is to increase the CHP share of electricity generation to more than 25 percent,”Remmel said in his speech at the event. Trianel is the leading municipal utility network in Germany and Europe, with more than 50 local utilities as members and serving more than 5 million customers in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.
Trianel began the mini and micro CHP project back in December 2011. This led to the mini and micro CHP network, in which there are currently 40 municipal utilities. Their goal is to establish highly efficient mini and micro CHPs on the market under the name EnergieBlock®. “With this project, the municipal utilities are once again proving their innovative strength in deciding the path that the energy reform will take,” commented Sven Becker, CEO of Trianel. “With their proximity to customers and excellent knowledge of the market, generating electricity where it will be used is a promising field of activity for regional energy suppliers.”
“This project shows us the energy generation of the future: decentralised, environmentally friendly and highly efficient. BlueGen will allow CO2 emissions to be reduced by 50 percent. That means a vital part of increasing energy efficiency is already in place,” said Frank Obernitz, CEO of Ceramic Fuel Cells GmbH. Ceramic Fuel Cells’ BlueGen units are also being used to power a virtual power plant project in The Netherlands with energy network company Liander and IBM.
Ceramic Fuel Cells is a world leader in developing fuel cell technology to generate highly efficient and low-emission electricity from widely available natural gas. Ceramic Fuel Cells has sold its BlueGen gas-to-electricity generator to major utilities and other foundation customers in Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Australia, and the USA. Ceramic Fuel Cells is also developing fully integrated power and heating products with leading energy companies E.ON UK in the United Kingdom, GdF Suez in France and EWE in Germany. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market and the Australian Securities Exchange (code CFU).
Source: Ceramic Fuel Cells
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