A number of fuel cells available on the market are suitable for connection to the Dutch natural gas system and to Dutch homes. This has emerged from a recent study performed by Kiwa Technology, commissioned by GasTerra. This new technology is highly efficient at converting natural gas into electricity and heat.
“The appliances that are now tested and demonstrated are highly efficient at producing electricity (up to more than 60% electrical efficiency). Moreover, the heat that is released can be used very effectively for domestic heating and hot water, for example”, explains researcher Edmund Fennema from Kiwa Technology. “By comparison, when natural gas is converted into heat in a power plant in the Netherlands, the efficiency is around 40% on average - and the heat is not always used to best effect.”
Fuel cell technology
With his colleague, Heinz Freese, Fennema is investigating whether the fuel cells now available in the world are reliable and suitable for the Netherlands’ natural gas systems and its housing market. Their results can be read in the report ‘Higher Efficiencies for micro CHP using fuel cells’, which can be downloaded below. According to Fennema: “Through our research we have shown that this technology might be very interesting for the Netherlands.”
Fennema has worked out that “Installing 2 million fuel cells with electrical efficiency of 40% in Dutch homes could mean savings of 10% on total projected energy consumption in the Netherlands by 2020 as well as 10% less CO2 emissions”.
Unique Opportunities Programme
The research is being subsidised by the Unique Opportunities Scheme (UKR) set up by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The aim of the scheme was to introduce to the market technologies which accelerate contributions towards a more sustainable energy management. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (http://english.rvo.nl/) implemented the scheme.
Source: Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO)