Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd. (CFCL) is investing €12.4 million (~ $19.0 million) in the construction of a manufacturing plant in Heinsberg, Germany, for the commercial production of its fuel cell systems. The company also announced that it has received a volume order from Nuon, reportedly The Netherlands’ largest energy company and CFCL’s partner for that market.
CFCL and Nuon have agreed on a set of performance targets for a commercial unit. On CFCL’s achievement of these targets, Nuon will order 50,000 fuel cell systems to be delivered over a five-year period beginning June 2009. The order is expected to generate substantial revenue for CFCL over the five years.
CFCL’s fuel cell systems will be integrated into conventional boilers for use in the low-carbon emission heating and power market. These new-generation, highly efficient fuel cell boilers, known as micro-combined heat and power (mCHP) units, will be deployed by Nuon for its residential customers to generate both electricity and heating in their homes.
CFCL will assemble its fuel cell systems at the Heinsberg facility in automated and semi-automated production lines in a staged scale-up operation. Initial capacity will be 10,000 units per year. Phase II of the project will see an increase in capacity to 160,000 stacks per year within the existing building.
“Increasing energy prices and the global response to climate change are contributing to an urgency for the introduction of efficient and clean energy generation,” said Brendan Dow, managing director of CFCL. “CFCL is well-placed to benefit from these forces. In the past 12 months, we have worked rigorously to achieve a plant design that will meet our needs both now and in the future. We have engaged a highly experienced project management team to supervise the plant’s construction in a timeframe that ties in with our plans for first commercial production. The Heinsberg plant, together with our UK powder plant and recently announced long-term supply agreements with H.C. Starck and CeramTec, are all part of our coordinated strategy to scale up to volume manufacturing while minimizing risk and capital costs.”
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