Friday, February 20, 2009

Revolutionary Home Fuel Cell Efficiencies Claimed by Melbourne Company

Managing Director Brendan Dow said, “We have now achieved 60% efficiency in a fully integrated fuel cell and heating system, while exporting 1.5 kilowatts of electricity to the grid. This is not a laboratory test but a unit that has all the functions of a commercial unit for homes. Our company’s products will be located in the home, so 60% efficiency is at the power point, with no transmission or electricity distribution losses.”

...After transmission and distribution losses, the average electrical efficiency of conventional power stations in the European Union is less than 35%. A 2007 study of other microgeneration technologies by the UK Carbon Trust, based on a trial of 70 units (including Stirling engines and internal combustion engine) found average electrical efficiencies to be less than 10%. A Japanese Government-sponsored trial of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell home units showed average electrical efficiency of about 30%. _FuelCellToday
If these 60% efficiency results from the Melbourne company Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd. hold up, home based fuel cells will likely receive a huge boost. Home fuel cells can supply a home's power and heating / hot water needs independent of the power grid. If they can also export (sell) power back to the utility, they should pay for themselves over a reasonable time period.
Ceramic Fuel Cells’ technology uses fuel cells made from ceramic materials to generate highly efficient and low emission electricity and heat from natural gas and renewable fuels. The technology began at CSIRO in 1992 and has cost $220 million to develop. Today the company employs 100 people in Melbourne, including 60 scientists and engineers.

Ceramic Fuel Cells’ units also recover heat from the electricity production process and use it to heat home hot water, increasing the units’ efficiency to 85%. “We are able to trap the heat from our units and use it to heat a household’s water, taking our efficiency to 85%”, said Mr Dow. “Compare this to average efficiency of the current power grid in Victoria of less than 30% and it represents a huge advantage.” _FuelCellWorks



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