LEMENE– fuel cell system to be commercialised following successful field trial in Finland

Incorporating Elcogen’s next generation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) and stack technology, Convion’s C60 system plays an integral role in a smart micro-grid in Lempäälä Energia’s LEMENE Energy Community Project. The hybrid utility microgrid is an example of power infrastructure modernisation, providing resilient, uninterrupted and clean energy for a new area.

The goal of the project was to create a low carbon and energy self-sufficient business district, supplying combined heat and power from renewable energy resources approximately to 50 businesses using only low-carbon technologies.

Convion’s C60 solid oxide fuel cell systems in Lemene community project. Copyright Convion OY

The Challenge

Low-carbon energy generation

The unique LEMENE project showcases low-carbon energy generation, energy storage and smart controls, combining to provide a self-sufficient district energy solution. The LEMENE system has been highlighted by the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE) as an energy solution that can help Finland achieve its national targets and those set by the European Union for 2030.

 

Power infrastructure modernization

The LEMENE project is a prime example of bottom-up approach of power infrastructure modernisation where a combination of technologies facilitates local production of energy in ways that are economical, sustainable and improve systemic resilience.

Reduction of primary energy consumption

The direct economic benefits of microgrids result from improving overall energy efficiency by reducing primary energy consumption and by aligning consumption better with availability of zero marginal cost solar energy.

 

 

 

High efficiency and low emissions

The role of the fuel cell systems is to produce electricity and heat continuously. Base load operating mode maximises benefits of high efficiency and low emissions of SOFCs. Modularity of SOFCs makes possible future capacity increase flexibility.

The Solution

Fuel Cell systems

Elcogen has teamed up with fuel cell system developer Convion to power two combined heat and power (CHP) systems. The C60 fuel cell system produces electricity at 60 kW and heat at approximately 25 kW. Additionally, electricity production efficiency is 60 per cent, the best available in its market category, and the system has achieved 99 per cent availability in a 7,000-hour test run.

Convion’s fuel cell systems use Elcogen’s next generation of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and stack technology.

  • Reliable and dependable power generation
  • Non-existing emissions of NOx, SOx, PM, VOC or noise.
  • 60% electrical efficiency
  • By waste heat recovery 80% of total efficiency
  • Able to produce high voltage DC power with direct integration to energy storage systems, while also avoiding intermediary steps of conversion and enable load shifting functionality.

Solar panels and Biogas

The hybrid grid will also be powered by a 4MW solar photovoltaic array, 8MW biogas engine and a battery to deliver a secure and reliable power supply.

Copyright Convion

The Results

Completed in 2019, the LEMENE project has demonstrated the capability to decarbonise Europe’s energy markets and has been highlighted by the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE) as a solution to meet European Union 2030 climate and energy targets. Following the successful field installation, Convion is ready to commercialise its C60 fuel cell system.

Enn Õunpuu, founder and CEO of Elcogen said:

“We’re excited that Elcogen’s next generation fuel cell technology is at the heart of this renewable energy smart grid system that can demonstrate how to decarbonise Europe’s energy markets and deliver self-sufficiency for residential and commercial power.

“This key renewable energy project will serve as an exceptional opportunity to explore how a larger scale smart grid functions in conjunction with the current electricity market, while generating 100 per cent renewable power from solar and bio-gas sources.

”It is also important to highlight that this project is based upon the good results of EU’s Horizon2020 / Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking projects INNO-SOFC (671403), qSOFC (725160), and NELLHI (621227).”

He added: “We are delighted to hear of Convion’s successful deployment of its C60 fuel cell system, as part of the LEMENE Energy Community Project, and we are immensely proud of the important role that Elcogen played.”

 

 

Erkko Fontell, CEO of Convion, said:

“The LEMENE project provides us a great opportunity to demonstrate highly efficient and clean power generation based on Convion fuel cell products. The project is a unique example of a future power solution, where requirements for energy efficiency, power security and sustainability are met.

“It shows how Convion fuel cells can be part of future smart grids, where different energy sources and a network of distributed solutions revolutionise how we produce electricity.”

Toni Laakso, Lempäälä Energia CEO, said:

“The LEMENE system will operate mainly as part of the public electrical grid but can also operate as a supporting reserve system for the public electrical grid, or independently off-grid, on demand.

“The LEMENE smart grid will feature a variety of smart technologies that will respond to changing electric demand, enabled by automation solutions adapted to the micro-grid. An important part of the project is to secure energy availability as renewable energy production varies.

“In conjunction with the solar array and battery storage, the LEMENE system also required a highly-efficient combined heat and power system from Convion that would convert biogas to generate electricity and heat to supply nearby businesses.”

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marek.roostar@elcogen.com