FuelCell Energy and Fraunhofer IKTS partner to develop European market for baseload distributed generation with stationary fuel cell power plants
FuelCell Energy, Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding with Fraunhofer IKTS (Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems) to form a German-based joint venture to develop the market in Europe for Direct FuelCell (DFC) stationary power plants. Additionally, Fraunhofer IKTS will contribute certain assets and their expertise in fuel cells and materials science to the joint venture.
The Germany-based joint venture will target the European market for baseload distributed generation. The attributes of stationary fuel cell power plants can help European countries diversify their power generation portfolio and reach sustainability goals as they provide continuous ultra-clean power in a highly efficient process at the point of use. The power generation portfolio of many European countries includes intermittent renewable power generation. Continuous baseload power from stationary fuel cell plants will help balance this intermittency.
Germany needs clean baseload distributed power generation and FuelCell Energy has market leading solutions so it is a very good fit for Fraunhofer to work with FuelCell Energy. The Fraunhofer IKTS team looks forward to applying our materials science and fuel cell expertise to help develop a broader range of applications and markets for FuelCell Energy products and technology.—Prof. Dr. Alexander Michaelis, director, Fraunhofer IKTS
FuelCell Energy will lead market development and servicing efforts for Direct FuelCell power plants as well as support for existing carbonate fuel cell power plants already operating in Europe. Fraunhofer IKTS will contribute research & development resources for enhancing DFC technology and use local knowledge and relationships to assist in market development. FuelCell Energy has established a legal entity in Germany for the joint venture and will retain majority ownership.
There are a number of existing incentives in Europe for stationary fuel cell power plants operating on either clean natural gas or renewable biogas. In Germany for example, a feed-in tariff is promoting adoption of combined heat and power (CHP) power generation as the German government is targeting 25% of electricity generation to include CHP by 2020, up from the current level of 15%. Additional incentives are available that are specific to fuel cell power generation.
DFC power plants are fuel flexible, capable of operating on natural gas or renewable biogas. DFC power plants generate electricity and usable high quality heat with an electrochemical reaction that emits virtually no pollutants. The high efficiency of the fuel cell power generation process reduces fuel costs and carbon emissions, and producing both electricity and heat from the same unit of fuel drives economics while simultaneously promoting sustainability. Fuel cells can achieve up to 90% efficiency when configured to use the high quality heat generated by the power plant in a combined heat & power (CHP) mode.