BlueGen Fuel Cells to be Used in Virtual Power Plant Project in The Netherlands.
Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited has announced a project in The Netherlands to create a Virtual Power Plant using Ceramic Fuel Cells’ BlueGen gas-to-electricity generators.
BlueGen units are planned to be installed with customers across the Netherlands to create a new community of distributed energy producers, connected through the internet and operated as a Virtual Power Plant.
Ceramic Fuel Cells is supporting its distribution partner BlueGeneration that is working on the project with Liander and IBM. This team will start designing a platform on which the Virtual Power Plant can run. During the design phase BlueGeneration, Liander and IBM will design the technical requirements and define the use cases for the platform.
Liander is a Dutch regional network operator, distributing electricity to 3.0 million customers and gas to 2.3 million customers in a large part of the Netherlands. IBM will provide the necessary system integration to control the BlueGen units remotely. IBM’s extensive experience in the field of Smart Grids enables the collaboration to implement and scale up the platform.
The project partners have entered the first phase of the project, with three BlueGen units installed with energy consultants’ KIWA Gastec for testing at their facilities in Apeldoorn. The aim is to test the compatibility with the designed systems and to have a closed and regulated environment for the first tests. During this test phase of approximately one year the influence of extreme modulation cycles will also be examined as well as the impact for the grid operator.
The tests at Kiwa began in April 2012. The partners are currently developing the Virtual Power Plant design, and intend to scale up the project in the second half of this calendar year and into 2013.
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.
By incorporating the Virtual Power Plant in Lianders’ Smart Grid, Liander will be able to locally balance the demand and supply of electricity. The end customers will benefit from lower energy costs.
The BlueGen product uses ceramic fuel cells to turn natural gas into electricity and heat for hot water, with each unit capable of producing more than three times the electricity needed to power the average Dutch home. (In The Netherlands an average home consumes an estimated 3,500 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.)
Surplus electricity can be sold back to the grid or used in supplementary applications such as charging electric cars, as well as having the additional benefit of providing heat for domestic hot water use. BlueGen units generate electricity with the highest electrical efficiency of any small scale generating technology in the world, reducing energy bills and cutting carbon emissions.
In the Netherlands customers are allowed to export electricity to the grid when they have a surplus and take it back from the grid later when they need it without being charged with energy tax on this energy. This tax- free interchange has a maximum of 5000 kWh per year.
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.(6/18/2012)
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June 22, 2012 – Vol. 17 No.14