Connect with us

Fuel Cell cogen

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by News, Feb 23, 2005.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. News

    News Guest

    Anyone know of any web site that give the progress of residential fuel cell
    units? General Electric were always going to bring one out next year, and
    that was five years ago.
  2. The closest thing I know about is Freightliner is experimenting with
    fuel cells in OTR trucks. Not for populsion, but for house power.
    IIRC they are using a 5KW unit from Basler electric. Probably
    still a bit spendy, but the closest thing to a deployed system
    that I have seen.

    Just my $0.02 worth. Hope it helps
    Gordon Reeder

    Hey Dubya!
    Unity means let's try to meet each other halfway
  3. News

    News Guest Fuel Cell Today did an article about 18
    months ago on the progress world-wide and 80 companies were developing
    residential fuel cells. The only major heating manufacturers were Valliant
    of Germany, the rest were small dedicated fuel cell companies. I have heard
    and read nothing of any advancements since. They are available for sale, but
    for silly money and more experimental units rather than fully marketed
    products. The problem is storing excess electrical power and the heat
    produced to make them economically viable in running costs

    New battery technology can act as a power store, unless they can modulate
    the fuel input to electrcity demand, and thermal stores can store excess
    heat. Then they maybe they will be viable - I think.

    I have the impression many of these small fuel cell companies are setup to
    get government research grants and little will come from them,
  4. Vaughn

    Vaughn Guest

    Batteries are expensive. I haven't seen the figures lately, but even if
    the power to charge them were free, the cost per KWH is considerable. If we
    ever do get residential co-gen fuel cell systems, grid tie will be the ticket.

  5. News

    News Guest

    The new Lithium Sulphur and poly batteries show promise of long charges and
    cheap production, when development glitches and production is en-mass. The
    auto industry will probably drive the prices down as hybrids are taking off,
    and then pure electric cars will come along.

    In the UK power companies are subsidising the installation of grid tied
    cogen Stirling mCHP, micro Combined Heat & Power, now the official buzz word
    here for single one residence units. This gives them a distributed power
    station. One idea is for the supply company to remotely bring them in at
    peak demand, if need be. This requires a thermal store to store the excess
    heat. the peak time for heating and DHW just happens top fall in line with
    peak electricity demand, so it may sort itself out.

    The Stirling units produce 8kW of heat and 1.1kW of electricity. To produce
    1 kW is approx 90% efficient and less than 2/5 of the harmful emissions of
    grid produced, which is only 30-40% efficent in total.

    In a new well insulated house 8kW should be fine for heating. That is where
    the thermal store comes into play. It can be heated overnight to prepare
    for the next day. Once a house is up to temperature the heating demands can
    be as little as 1kW.

    In the UK electricity is 4 times more expensive per kW as gas, so producing
    electrity in your home with 90% efficient gas is worth it.
  6. Guest

    Under a kitchen counter, powered by natural gas.
    As I recall, this came from John Corey and his friends at the Clever Fellows
    Invention Consortium in Troy, NY, USA. When will we see it in the US? :)

  7. News

    News Guest

    Yep, or on the weall, as there will be a wall mounted unit. One will
    provide on0demand DHW too.
    Interesting, I never knew that. The idea of distributed power is not
    exactly new.

    A press release from Gledhill, the intelligent thermal store manufacturer.
    They make some excellent stuff. I have one of their thermal stores, which
    is a class act.

    The first 550 houses are under construction right now. Powergen have been
    doing trials for a few years with the Whispergen Stirling and Gledhill
    thermal store. Another company, Microgen are to introduce a Stirling
    version, probably using the Gledhill store too. Their unit is made by Rennai
    in Japan, although designed in the UK. The Microgen has a free wheeling
    piston Stirling with the power generating coils in the piston and around the
    cylinder. The Japanese are very keen on this technology. The UK government
    is actively promoting mCHP, although it can only ever be a medium term fix.
    The long term has to be not using masses amount of power to begin with.

    The gas bills are no different to using a normal condensing boiler, but the
    electricity bills drop by around 1/3, depending on household. As
    electricity is 4 times the price of gas here, that is a considerable saving
    to the home owner. As time moves on and more energy efficient appliances
    are being introduced, so savings may be greater on the electricity side as
    the Stirling unit would provide more local power than drawing in off the

    Then there is the environmental impact of less emissions and less power
    infrastructure, which may mean less electricity pylons ruining the views of
    the countryside.

    See my recent post on this. The Gledhill web site has a few slide show
    presentations and a page on the central control system that the power
    provider may use to operate the units remotely.

    Well we are moving towards hybrid cars and now hybrid heating and power
  8. News

    News Guest

    May be have an absorption system, assisted by solar panels. The UK system
    was designed with a temperate climate in mind.
    But the heat is not wasted.
    In your part of the world a re-think is required.
  9. News

    News Guest

    From Whispergen site. 80,000 units to be manufactured in 5 years for
    2004 E.ON UK signs order with Whisper Tech for commercial quantity of AC
    WhisperGens and commits to purchasing at least 80,000 units over the next 5
    2004 Whisper Tech invites registrations of interest from prospective
    2004 WhisperGen chosen for one of the world's largest residential 'combined
    heat and power' installations in Manchester and wins prestigious building
    industry award
  10. Steve Young

    Steve Young Guest

    Here's one I've been watching for a couple years.
    Looks like they're targeting the residential market and aren't too far
    away. 25kW of heat with 4.6kW of electricity.

    OBTW Nick, your suggestion of using an old 275 gallon fuel oil tank for
    heat storage has been working super duper. I stood it on end on a 10" inch
    high insulated wood platform. This gives me four ports at different levels
    and it is large enough to be plenty useful.
  11. News

    News Guest

    I'm not much wiser after reading this with no detailed technical
    description. It is a steam engine, highly efficient and can give 24kW of
    heat and 4.6kW of electricity, powered by gas or oil or whatever. It
    appears too large fro a single house giving off 25kW of heat appear too much
    and 4.6kW of electricity will be feeding the grid for most of the time. It
    maybe fine for an apartment block, but the high initial capital cost and
    ongoing maintenance cost may make it unviable, or just not worth the hassle.
  12. Steve Young

    Steve Young Guest

    Yes, I'm a little disappointed they took down the really good
    technical information they had up last year about the process. As I
    recall, it's an innovative process with the use of ceramics.

    I'm guessing they may be angling for heat storage, and then, on demand
    electric peak leveling by the utility. The much better information they
    had on the unit last year, indicated an Ethernet interface. I wish I would
    have saved the pages.
  13. Bughunter

    Bughunter Guest

  14. News

    News Guest

    " Enginion is one of the fastest growing companies in the eastern part of
    Germany. Its shareholders are the management team, E-ON Venture Partners
    GmbH (E.ON concern, Europe's largest utility provider) and TEA GmbH (VW
    concern). "

    E.ON own Powergen, a power company, in the UK, who have partnered up with
    Whisper Tech in NZ to make the WhipserGen Stirling mCHP unit, which is being
    curently implemented in 550 new homes in Manchester.

    I wonder which will win? The SteamCell or the Stirling? The SteamCell
    appears a replacement for the IC engine too. They also claim far greater
    efficiency than a fuel cell.
  15. News

    News Guest

    "The concept of the SteamCell is based on a completely enclosed water and
    steam cycle. A high-pressure pump compresses water from a small tank. In
    heat exchangers, the water is converted into high-energy steam that is then
    expanded in a rotation machine while releasing energy. After expansion, the
    steam condenses and flows as fresh water back into the tank. The described
    cycle consists of the following components: "

    This rotation machine? Is that a rotary type of wankle affair, or just
    plain pistons? Their early experimental machines were pistons.

    If this machine is as efficient as they make out this is a direct
    replacement for the current IC engine. They aiming to have it in buses,
    trucks and large cars to provide all the ancillary power and say they are
    negotiating with large auto makers, presumably VW, as the company was
    initially a part of VW.
  16. (excerpting from some company promo or another)
    "compresses water"? I sure hope that's a quote out of context..
  17. News

    News Guest

    I think they mean pressurises. Probably a German converting to English.
  18. Steve Young

    Steve Young Guest

    Nick, your suggestion of using an old 275 gallon fuel oil tank for
    As I think about it Nick, if one could sit 3 tanks side by side, then
    couple them so they all store equally, without using a pump, (I'm using
    1/2" copper with up to 10gpm flow), what was plenty useful, now becomes
    plenty meaningful.

    WOO HOO!


    PS Now you can make hay when the sun shines, just store it :)
    for when come rain or shine
  19. Nick Hull

    Nick Hull Guest

    I thought the big advantage to fuel cells was that they automatically
    use fuel to match the electrical demand, no batteries needed since you
    can operate them at a trickle.
  20. News

    News Guest

    That is true with some models. There are so many variants of fuel cell
    about. They do create heat so,a thermal store is no doubt necessary to store
    the heat for later use.

    The SteamCell claim the same modulated operation, but they claim TEN times
    less fuel used than a fuel cell. It can also be used for auto use, maybe in
    a hybrid or just by turning an alternator and driving a motor or two and
    then storing excess energy in a battery pack.

    The fuel cell in autos is to produce electricity to turn a drive motor. If
    correct, a Steam Cell can do that far cheaply and available right now with a
    mixture of new and old technology.

    All these technologies require careful feasibility studies, but all appear
    viable to some degree or other.

    The SteamCell is also aimed at large autos, trucks and buses running the
    ancillary equipment. That means the engine can be left alone to turn the
    wheels only, no alternator, power steering pump, a/c pump, etc, simplifying
    the engine and maintenance. That means an engine designed for a particular
    vehicle need only be air cooled and a lot smaller, for superior packaging
    and location in the vehicle. The steam cell can economically run the
    ancillaries when the engine is off. That mean the SteamCell could pre-heat
    the engine (if water cooled) before a cold start up.
    * I am a free man and have never fired a gun.
    * I am free to walk the streets without being hindered by people with guns.
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day