EnBW, Siemens plan first ever megawatt-class fuel-cell power plant

Sep 12, 2006

EnBW Energie Baden-Wurttemberg and Siemens Power Generation are joining forces to build a highly-efficient fuel cell hybrid power plant. Plans call for the construction of a megawatt-class demonstration plant. The goal of this research project is to convert up to 70 percent of the fuel energy into electricity. The necessary groundwork is scheduled to be completed by 2008. This will provide the basis for construction of an initial, small pilot plant, to be followed beginning in 2012 by the planned fuel cell hybrid plant with an installed capacity of one megawatt.

The efficiency of the hybrid process is significantly greater than that of modern gas- and steam-turbine power plants that reach an efficiency of approximately 60 percent. This high efficiency is to be achieved by combining a high-temperature fuel cell with a gas turbine in the planned hybrid plant in order to make more efficient use of the fuel and minimize emissions.

The project is scheduled to run for an extended period, and involves intensive background research to optimize operation of stationary fuel cells in conjunction with gas turbines making hybrid SOFC’s a viable alternative for commercial plants. After successful completion of the project, this hybrid technology will become available roughly a decade sooner than expected by experts today.

On the way toward realization of the first megawatt demonstration plant using hybrid technology, Siemens will initially supply a high-temperature SOFC fuel cell with a capacity of five kilowatts. “We look forward to laying the groundwork for broad application of hybrid fuel cell technology in distributed and centralized power generation in a long-term”, said Norbert König, member of the group executive management of the Siemens Power Generation Group. The DLR institute will operate and analyze the SOFC.

“We are pleased to have found in Siemens a competent partner for this maximum-efficiency future technology,” said Dr. Thomas Hartkopf, EnBW Vice President in Charge of Engineering. “This technology will bring us a big step forward in our effort to extract more electricity from less and less fuel, and to bring emissions down to lower and lower levels.” Since 2001 EnBW has operated a state-wide program to provide funding for a wide variety of fuel cells. These fuel cells are being used directly by customers and partners in real-world power applications, which has allowed EnBW to draw corresponding technical experience from the operation of more than 20 plants. Initial experience with biogas-powered fuel cells has also been gained since 2006.

During the initial phase of the project, which is scheduled to run for three years, the individual components will serve as the basis for development of an operating concept and a corresponding simulation model. The associated control concept will be developed by the Institute for Aviation Engineering. The test components themselves will be coupled together in the next phase of the project starting in 2009, and the configuration will be optimized beginning in 2012.

To serve the aim of this project a special research working group was established at the University of Stuttgart. With the continued support of the Helmholz Association of German Research Centers it bundles the resources of the German Aerospace Center in Stuttgart and the University of Stuttgart. Spokesman of the research group is
Prof. Aigner of the Institute for Combustion Engineering of the DLR which will make available the gas microturbine and laboratory facilities operated by the institute.
In solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), an electrochemical reaction converts fuel energy directly and very efficiently into electricity and heat. In a hybrid power plant, the hot exhaust gases exiting the fuel cell are fed into the gas turbine, thereby reducing or totally eliminating the fuel consumption of the turbine. The gas turbine makes it possible to operate the fuel cell at increased gas pressure, which makes it more efficient.

The “Stationary Fuel Cells” division of Siemens PG located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the U.S. is a world leader in the field of solid oxide fuel cells.

Source: Siemens AG

Explore further: First of four Fukushima reactors cleared of nuclear fuel

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Carrot or stick? Game-theory can optimize collaboration

Dec 03, 2014

What motivates people to cooperate in collaborative endeavors? "First carrot, then stick". Tatsuya Sasaki, mathematician from the University of Vienna, has put forth for the first time ever a mathematical ...

Fiery risk? Air shipments of batteries questioned

Dec 02, 2014

Dramatic U.S. government test results raise new concern that bulk shipments of rechargeable lithium batteries carried as cargo on passenger planes are susceptible to fires or explosions that could destroy ...

Are electric cars greener? Depends on where you live

Nov 25, 2014

Long thought a thing of the future, electric cars are becoming mainstream. Sales in the United States of plug-in, electric vehicles nearly doubled last year. Credible forecasts see the number rising within ...

Recommended for you

The state of shale

Dec 19, 2014

University of Pittsburgh researchers have shared their findings from three studies related to shale gas in a recent special issue of the journal Energy Technology, edited by Götz Veser, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Che ...

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

Dec 18, 2014

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

Dec 18, 2014

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.