Siemens Westinghouse to Build SOFC for RWE Power AG

Systems will offer electrical efficiencies approaching 60% and will be used as all electric applications supplying electricity to the utility grid.

Published: 06-Dec-2000

ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 6, 2000--Two major European contracts have been awarded to Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation by European Utilities to further the advancement and commercialization of Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Systems.

Siemens Westinghouse will build pre-commercial SOFC power systems for RWE Power AG, leader of a utility consortium. RWE Power AG located in Essen, Germany, now the largest utility in Germany, and the third largest utility in Europe will be the host site for this demonstration program. The second pre-commercial system will be built for Edison Spa of Milan, Italy, the lead company of the Energy Sector within the Montedison Group. These SOFC PH 300 kW class prototype systems will be hybrid systems utilizing the Siemens Westinghouse Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Technology coupled with a microturbine generator (MTG) as a bottoming cycle. These systems will offer electrical efficiencies approaching 60% and will be used as all electric applications supplying electricity to the utility grid. Future commercial systems like these can also be used as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems. In the SOFC/microturbine Hybrid System the same fuel and air used in the fuel cell drives the MTG without any additional use of fuel. Being electrochemical, the energy conversion produces virtually no pollutants such as nitrogen oxides. The byproducts are essentially water vapor, and because natural gas is used, carbon dioxide. Because of the high level of efficiency, however, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted is substantially lower than in combustion engines.

The RWE Power AG demonstration will be located at the Meteorit Technology Park in Essen and will use heat from the exhaust in a demonstration of combined heat and power (CHP). Delivery is scheduled for February 2002 with system startup in March of 2002.

The Edison Spa demonstration will be located at the company's R&D facility in the town of Sinetta Marengo, close to Alessandria in North West Italy and will also be a CHP demonstration. Delivery is scheduled in September 2002 with system startup planned for October of 2002.

"We are delighted that these forward thinking Utilities have chosen to work with Siemens Westinghouse and become early adapters of this technology for the emerging Distributed Generation market. We look forward to working with them in our future joint business relationships," said Thomas C. Voigt, the recently appointed President, Stationary Fuel Cells for Siemens Westinghouse.

Both of these power systems will operate on natural gas as the primary fuel. The generator module will be a direct application of the highly successful design demonstrated in the first 100 kW Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Power System which has operated for over 16,000 hours in the town of Westervoort in the Netherlands. In addition experience will be drawn from the world's first pressurized hybrid system, the 220 kWe system being sponsored by the Southern California Edison, the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission.

The unique feature of integrating the fuel cell with an MTG can boost the overall electrical efficiency from 45% to 60%. Each system will produce electricity in the range of 300 kW, with 250 kW being produced by the SOFC and 50 kW being produced by the microturbine.

"These key demonstrations give us the opportunity to develop our products to European Standards and gain commonality in our designs with our North American product as well," said Allan Casanova, Director of Business Development and Administration for Stationary Fuel Cells. We can now focus on two key product introductions, Atmospheric Pressure systems and Pressurized Hybrid systems. Market introduction for both Atmospheric and Hybrid Systems is scheduled for 2004," Casanova added.

Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation's Stationary Fuel Cell group is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The pre-commercial demonstration of the 300 kW Class Systems is part of the Company's continued evolution in hybrid designs. Unlike conventional power generations, the fuel cell hybrid will not rely on combustion during normal operation, instead using the electrochemical reaction to generate electricity.

Siemens Westinghouse is developing SOFC technology under a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Energy (DOE), through its National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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