Energy security + how to get rid of the electricity grid!
Traditional electricity generation is inherently wasteful. More than half the energy content of the fuel escapes from the power station's cooling tower as waste heat. In addition, more than 5% of the electricity generated is lost in transmission in the journey from grid to end user.
An alternative approach is to generate electricity within homes and commercial buildings using a device called a fuel cell, essentially a large battery with a replenishable fuel source. In Manchester, Mike Mason advocated fuel cells that use solid-oxide technology. These can run on natural gas, ethanol or various other fuels, including the gases produced when making biochar. Mason described domestic fuel cells that can produce electricity from gas more efficiently than even the best modern power stations and at a lower cost. As a bonus, because the generation happens at the point of consumption, transmission losses are minimized and any heat created can be used for hot water and radiators...
Ceramic Fuel Cells opens Germany plant - Melbourne-based alternative energy company Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd (CFC) has opened its large-scale fuel cell manufacturing plant in Germany. CFC is developing solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology to provide energy efficient and low-emission electricity from natural gas and renewable fuels.
The company is currently making fuel cell "modules", which appliance companies can integrate into various product. The first products to be powered by the company's fuel cells will be compact generators for homes and other buildings that produce low-emission power as well as heat for hot water or space heating. "These product will meet the growing need for energy whilst also reducing greenhouse gas emissions..."
Ceramic fires up Bluegen - October 5, 2009 - THE ASX-listed alternative energy company Ceramic Fuel Cells is set to start making its ''Bluegen'' home solid oxide fuel cell units, which could see them being installed in Australian homes from early next year. Manufactured in Germany, the units will be priced from $8000 to $10,000 each and produce up to 17,000 kwh of electricity a year - more than twice the amount needed to power an average home. Ceramic's managing director, Brendan Dow, said the grid-connected units, which are about the size of a dishwasher, generate electricity from natural gas on-site at a higher efficiency and lower cost than coal-fired power.
Mr Dow said the units operated silently, did not use hydrogen and were safe to install in homes. By February he hoped they would be certified as a safe gas appliance. A key to the take-up of the units in Australia would be qualifying for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which would give utilities an incentive to install them, he added. "It's difficult to get utilities really interested in Australia under the current climate," Mr Dow said...
Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited - Australian company engaging the stationary power market with a solid oxide fuel cell design...