Electrical efficiency of 60% was achieved by a natural gas-powered fuel cell home appliance while exporting electricity to the grid.
Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited recently announced that it has achieved electrical efficiency of 60% from one of its natural gas-powered fuel cell home appliances while exporting electricity to the grid. Because the unit will be installed in homes, there are no electricity transmission or distribution losses. The efficiency level is a 10% improvement on the company’s most recent efficiency announcement, which was last December.
“This milestone takes our company to a new level,” said Managing Director Brendan Dow. “We have now achieved 60% efficiency in a fully integrated fuel cell and heating system while exporting 1.5 kilowatts of electricity to the grid. This is not a laboratory test but a unit that has all the functions of a commercial unit for homes. Our company’s products will be located in the home, so 60% efficiency is at the power point, with no transmission or electricity distribution losses.”
Ceramic Fuel Cells’ technology uses fuel cells made from ceramic materials to generate highly efficient and low-emission electricity and heat from natural gas and renewable fuels. The technology began at CSIRO in 1992 and has cost $220 million to develop. Today, the company employs 100 people in Melbourne, Australia.
Ceramic Fuel Cells’ units also recover heat from the electricity production process and use it to heat home hot water, increasing the units’ efficiency to 85%. “We are able to trap the heat from our units and use it to heat a household’s water, taking our efficiency to 85%,” said Dow. “Compare this to average efficiency of the current power grid in Victoria of less than 30% and it represents a huge advantage.”
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