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Mitsubishi Power has recently received an order to supply the first Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) in Europe. The highly efficient hybrid system will be put into operation at the Gas- und Warme-Institut Essen e.V. (GWI) in Essen by March 2022. Among other things, flexible operation of the Hybrid-SOFC and the proportional use of hydrogen as a fuel gas are to be researched under real conditions.
The system is part of the research project "KWK.NRW 4.0" and is funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (Hybrid-SOFC) from Mitsubishi Power plays a central role in the project. The highly efficient system not only supplies electricity and heat but can also be used decentralized and independently of the existing power grid. Another key advantage of the Hybrid-SOFC: the system can be operated flexibly with various fuels - from natural gas to biogas and hydrogen.
This Hybrid-SOFC can theoretically supply electricity to a large office building, a hospital or about 300 houses with electricity and heat. In addition to natural gas, liquefied natural gas and biogas, it can also be operated with hydrogen, where the only emission is water and contribute to the decarbonization of electricity. Mitsubishi Power already has installed 9 units of Hybrid-SOFC systems in Japan. The plant in Essen will be the first of its kind outside Japan.
Thanks to its compact dimensions, the Hybrid-SOFC can also be ideally integrated into a user's existing power and heat supply system. At GWI, the start-up and shut-down procedure of the plant as well as the dynamic (partial load) operation will be demonstrated. "An energy system with a high proportion of renewable energies inevitably requires plants that can supply electricity and heat reliably, quickly and in an environmentally friendly manner when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing," says Professor Klaus Gorner, scientific director of GWI. This kind of flexible and sustainable operation - especially with blending of hydrogen as fuel gas - will be comprehensively realized with the Hybrid-SOFC.
"We are delighted to bring the unique SOFC system to European market. It confirms the growing demand for clean energy sources where Mitsubishi Power has vast expertise", adds Professor Emmanouil Kakaras, Head of the New Products Business Unit at Mitsubishi Power Europe. "Apart from SOFC, we are fully equipped with numerous state-of-the-art technologies and solutions which are contributing to a successful energy transition." These include hydrogen-ready gas turbines, large-scale battery storage solutions, Power-to-X technologies, biomass conversion, and heat pump systems.