Today, Solvay proudly presents Nedstack’s fuel cell system to the press. The system was installed on schedule in September 2011. After a few weeks of testing, it has now been running continuously for 2 months.
The performance is impressive: The electrical efficiency has proven to be 50 %, with a total efficiency -including heat recuperation- of 80 %. The availability is meeting high expectations too, even in this early phase of operation, it has been 99 % over the past two months. Solvay’s personnel have quickly learnt to operate this hassle-free plant.
The fuel cell system is called a “PEM Power Plant”. It is a major milestone in the global fuel cell industry. With 1 MW of electric power output, delivered by 12,600 fuel cells, it is the largest of this type in the world. The PEM Power Plant converts hydrogen, a by-product in the chlorine industry, into electricity and heat. Chlor-alkali and chlorate production industries are very energy-intensive. Nedstack’s PEM Power Plant enables them to self-generate 20 or 40% respectively of their electricity consumption. Solvay’s PEM Power Plant generates 1 MW of electricity and generates 500 kW of heat, to be reused in the production process for significant additional cost savings. In addition, PEM fuel cells are emission-free. With PEM Power Plants, the industry significantly contributes to meeting the European targets to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
In 2007, Nedstack delivered a smaller model, with a capacity of 70 kW, at AkzoNobel’s chlorine production plant in Delfzijl. Nedstack’s fuel cells proved to have a remarkably long life span. The most recent generation of Nedstack’s fuel cells have recently reached 13,000 hours of continuous operation and are expected to last over 20,000 hours. The Akzo PEM Power Plant, which has been in operation for almost five years now, requires minimum maintenance and is monitored at a distance by Nedstack. Nedstack sees an enormous market for these systems, especially in India and China, where large quantities of the by-product hydrogen are available and the value of electricity is high because the power supply of these fast-growing economies cannot always keep up with demand.