In the US, FuelCell Energy has signed a memorandum of understanding with Air Products to work towards the market development of stationary Direct FuelCell® power plants that simultaneously produce hydrogen, ultra-clean electricity, and usable high quality heat.
Trigeneration Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) power plants generate hydrogen, ultra-clean electricity, and usable high quality heat at the point of use. Onsite hydrogen production from stationary fuel cell power plants offers a way to develop a broader hydrogen infrastructure.
Target markets for these trigeneration stationary fuel cell power plants include industrial hydrogen users, as well as vehicle fuelling applications.
'Onsite or distributed co-production of hydrogen in a cost-effective and efficient manner from stationary fuel cell power plants represents tremendous market potential,' says Ed Kiczek, Global Director of Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products.
The initiative seeks to develop a market for trigeneration megawatt-class power plants around the world. Industrial users of hydrogen can utilise all three of the DFC revenue streams: hydrogen, electricity, and heat.
Onsite or local production of hydrogen and electricity eliminates the delivery costs incurred by industrial companies, while enhancing security and reliability of supply.
'By combining our industry-leading fuel cell technology and expertise with the market reach, hydrogen processing, and distribution capabilities of Air Products, together we can create the hydrogen infrastructure with a solution that is ready today,' says Chip Bottone, President and CEO of FuelCell Energy.
'Our stationary fuel cell power plants are quite versatile, and this initiative represents what we expect to be an efficient and cost-effective manner of providing onsite hydrogen production in an environmentally friendly manner,' continues Bottone.
Distributed generation of hydrogen could help to enable hydrogen infrastructure development, by producing hydrogen in locations convenient for end-uses such as vehicle fuelling or industrial use. Fuelling operations or neighbouring facilities can utilise the ultra-clean electricity and high quality heat produced.
FuelCell Energy and Air Products are already working together on a three-year hydrogen production project in California, which began last summer. Under subcontract to Air Products, FuelCell Energy is operating a DFC power plant at an Orange County Sanitation District wastewater treatment facility near Los Angeles.
The project, funded in part by the Department of Energy, California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Southern California Gas Company, and also involving the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine, is providing renewable hydrogen for vehicle fuelling along with ultra-clean electricity.
The power plant efficiently converts biogas generated from the wastewater treatment process into renewable hydrogen for a nearby vehicle fuelling station operated by Air Products, as well as ultra-clean electricity used by the wastewater treatment facility.