Convion Ltd. is pleased to announce that the company has successfully started testing of a first biogas fuel cell unit belonging to a pilot delivery to Italy. The system went live last week in Espoo, Finland and since then, it has shown in the trial run a superb electrical efficiency above 55% net-AC when run on biogas. Equipped with exhaust heat recovery, total efficiency is above 82%. The unit will undergo a series of tests at Convion premises prior to shipment to Turin, Italy.
The delivery is part of a European project DEMOSOFC. In the project, an industrial scale biogas fuelled solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plant will be installed at a waste water treatment facility of SMAT in Collegno, Turin. The Collegno plant is representative of an important segment of small to medium sized waste water treatment facilities where energy recovery has often not been feasible by conventional generator types. SOFC technology with unparalleled efficiency and long maintenance intervals opens up new opportunities particularly in these smaller facilities. Alone in Europe, there are thousands of waste water treatment plants in the sub-megawatt power scale where energy embedded in sewage waste water currently goes unutilized. As a modular power generator, Convion C50 is suitably sized for efficiently recovering this untapped potential.
Upon commissioning in Italy later in the spring, the biogas fuel cell CHP system will start generating power for the plant’s own use. An installation consisting of Convion C50 products will power the waste water treatment process and provide a secured supply of electricity and heat for the plant. With the available biogas production, fuel cells will produce approximately 30% of the Collegno plants own electricity need and all of the processes’ thermal energy needs by efficiently utilizing biogas produced in an anaerobic digestion process of waste water sludge. Harnessing the renewable energy of organic matter in waste can significantly reduce carbon footprint of waste treatment and increase energy independence of the plant.
Convion is a world leader in efficient, fuel flexible and reliable fuel cell systems designed for distributed power generation in industrial and commercial settings. Demonstration at a waste water treatment will showcase an application for on-site fuel cell CHP generators, where many of the benefits of fuel cell technology will be highlighted. Advantages of an SOFC system in a small or mid-sized biogas plant include significantly higher electrical energy generation from a given gas resource, power-to-heat ratio better matching with on-site energy requirements, lower maintenance need and radically lower local emissions as compared to conventional generators. Convion systems’ ability to utilize digester quality biogas at an industry leading efficiency and without a need to upgrade the gas by separating carbon dioxide improve the economics at small installations.
Partners in the project are Convion, SMAT, POLITO, VTT and Imperial College. Co-operation in the project has provided Convion with valuable insight into the waste-to-energy application characteristics and requirements and will form a showcase of a replicable concept of fuel cell implementation. The Company continues to build on its significant background in biogas fuelled SOFC’s and seeks to bring its C50 SOFC product to the market with key partners operating in the field.