Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd. recently announced that its BlueGen gas-to-electricity unit had created nearly twice as much electricity as the Newington (Sydney), Australia, “Smart Home” had needed during the home’s first 18 months of operation. Ausgrid energy efficiency expert Paul Myors said an analysis of energy use and generation at the smart home showed it was producing enough electricity to power two average households. “The fuel cell used gas and waste heat to produce most of the on-site power, but with 65% less greenhouse gas impact than power sourced from the grid,” he said.
The 1.5 kW BlueGen unit—combined with a conventional 1 kW rooftop solar system and a 0.5 kW solar pergola system—produced an average 32 kW hours of electricity per day. Of this, the BlueGen unit produced an average of 28 kW hours per day, while the average solar output was 4 kW hours per day.
The BlueGen unit saved 6950 kW of carbon dioxide during the year from November 2010 to October 2011 when compared to greenhouse emissions from electricity from the NSW grid. This was nearly five times the carbon emission savings from the Smart Home’s solar PV unit, which saved 1470 kg of carbon dioxide.
The family charged the home’s car—a new Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicle—an average of eight times per month and drove it for more than 5,000 km on Sydney’s roads. The electric car added an average 2.5 kW hours a day to the home’s electricity use. Ausgrid said the electric car would have been about 75% cheaper that a comparable petrol car to run because it was only charged after 8 p.m., when electricity rates are cheaper.
“The Smart Home in essence has become a fully functioning power station,” Myors said. “This has been a great experiment to test how families use new technology and efficient appliances, so we can see what will help households use energy and water efficiently in the future.”
For more information, visit www.cfcl.com.au.