Hey, 100% the CFU and CWR units do not burn gas to produce hot water, the excess heat from the electricity generation is used to produce the hot water. The presentation below states the CFU unit is capable of 200ltr a day, the average UK home consumes around 120. The CFU unit isn't designed to run central heating but the original ceres unit was, see: http://www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/News/NewsFeedItem.aspx?id=117392193647882 The company I mentioned ITM, who are investigating injecting Hydrogen in to the grid make the electrolysers you describe. So I wholesale agree with the points you raise. The vast majority of the Hydrogen today is generated using fossil fuel but in 10 to 15 years it wont. ITM have a working product that takes in a renewable power source and water and outputs hydrogen. This is the future whether generated locally close to the point of use or injected on mass in to the grid. I'm interested in the methane patent you mention, which company has that? Thanks Matt.
Took me a while to find a good link: http://www.essentialchemicalindustry.org/chemicals/hydrogen.html If you have been investing in hydrogen producing companies you will have been investing effectively in those chemical industries using it. Check out how it has primarily been produced up to now and where it is used. The process uses fossil fuel and creates carbon emissions....90% of all hydrogen is produced this way. Actually production of hydrogen is adding to the CO2 emission/global warming problem at the moment because they won't capture it all in the process. Little hydrogen is actually used in renewable energy projects. I think the way to go is electrolysis to get the hydrogen. While hydrogen has a high energy density per unit mass, it has a lower energy density per unit volume than natural (or synthetic gas). So it makes more sense to combine the hydrogen with CO2 to get the methane. (At the moment they are using methane to get hydrogen and creating more CO2 which needs to be captured somehow). Piping hydrogen direct to homes is not straightforward because some always escapes (due to small molecules) and it would corrode existing pipes. Methane does not have those problems.
Well I agree that the Bluegen doesn't burn gas (because it isn't a boiler). But a boiler which uses a fuel cell with 60% electrical efficiency must surely need to burn gas. Otherwise how does it heat the home. Even if you had a 2kW cell, the waste heat from that is not enough to heat a house in winter...that's why the Bluegen is a non-starter in UK market. A boiler which is using some gas to run the cell must also be using additional gas for the central heating. That proportion of the gas will be burned and create CO2 emissions. And that proportion of gas burned is far greater than that used to produce the electricity even in a fuel cell boiler. So CO2 emissions will be less than stirling engine for same power but only by the proportion that is used for electricity generation. In UK winter most energy is used to heat space and that burns gas. Alternatively you would need something like a 15kW fuel cell and use the electrical power for heating, that cell would emit no CO2 but would be a really expensive cell...Also with fuel cell you are using up the world resources to make it. It is not completely renewable. And a lot of energy is needed to make the cells...which emits CO2. (There is probably more energy used to create a Bluegen than it can ever save in its lifetime.) For future ideas check out synthetic natural gas. Generate electricity from renewable (solar, wing hydro). Easy. Use the electricity for electrolysis of water to get hydrogen. Easy. Now there is an interesting patent that enables reaction of hydrogen with CO2 in a superstate to create methane efficiently (natural gas). That way the input energy is all from renewable sources and you are using CO2 that is produced from burning of the gas. It's a stable cycle that maintains CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Effectively the system is storing energy from the wind and solar in the gas produced instead of batteries so you don't need to dig up earth metals, plus no need to dig explore for more gas. Then you can happily burn your synthetic gas without damaging the environment :-)
Well it seems I was very wrong! Having read the presentation and re-read the site it seems the BlueGen is for single home deployments, quite surprising given its size. So your concerns are well founded! That said even given its size I think it's worth a high risk punt. It's a fair point re the efficiency but there are a few key points, a stirling boiler burns the gas resulting in CO2, a fuel cell boiler does not, zero CO2. It gets even more interesting with companies like ITM who are investigating injecting Hydrgen in to the gas network. You could have completely clean, renewabally generated Hydrogen supplied direct to your fuel cell boiler. Pracically no CO2. Likewise the H could be generated locally from a turbine or solar panel on your home totally free - at this point the efficiency of the units is less of a priority. One thing for sure burning fossil fuels is not the future, in 10 - 15 years we won't be doing it. I firmly believe fuel cells are the answer, so convinced I am that every spare penny is invested in H one way or the other. (and it's serving me well so far :p )
But the instantaneous power output is only 1.5kW isn't it? That means at peak demand it won't be enough to supply multiple users....ok maybe two users (one vacuum cleaner even with new regs can be 1600W). And that agrees with the spin in the link from Fcell where says it will deliver 13,000kWh/year (twice demand of Aussie home). If you assume average uk of 3300kWh/year that would be nearly 4 users. But that is not the whole story because to do that the device has to be on 24/7. At low demand (night) the grid doesn't need (or want) the excess power from devices like this. So it is only really giving about 6000kWh/year (or less even) at a useful time. They really need to get the price right down to get customer money back even before the 5 year life of the fuel cell is over. On top of all this the overall efficiency is only 85% so it is worse than a condensing Stirling engine boiler... Anyway good luck with Ceres.
Oder of 100 units from Avilos 'Pending'. I thought they were already being delivered? Or is this a further 100 on top of the previous order?
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