New Domestic Fuel Cell Technology from Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd

A colleague from Sydney alerted me to this new domestic fuel cell technology Blue Gen from Ceramic Fuel Cells P/L. Ceramic Fuel Cells claim they are capable of generating electricity from reticulated natural gas and providing energy for hot water and waste heat for home heating.nGo to opportunities for carbon reduction from distributed generators like this will be fantastic when available (these fuel cells are not on market yet, only in development stage). As for the domestic application – they are definitely good for cold climates where heat recovery systems attached for heating. At an $8000 + price tag, there would need to be incentives to people to install these, as their more efficient use of energy has a major social and economic dividend in terms of more efficient use of energy from generation at end point use and distribution of excess to the local grid. (This is also the unsung aspect of solar grid feed systems – greatly reduced system losses, now about to be recognised by a 4:1 tariff advantage). As they are only geared for natural gas, they will be of use where that service is available. Scaled-up versions will be good for commercial/industrial CBD sites.nGas-powered fuel cells are a very efficient, lower carbon way of generating electricity for domestic use from fossil fuel sources: as such they are a fantastic transitional technology. But I think the real killer application for these at domestic/commercial level will be to charge plug-in hybrid cars or to link in with fuel-cell powered cars. The long view should see these evolve as part of solar power systems, to remove gas from the mix.nPossibly the evolution of the solar powered fuel cell car may supersede in-home systems, by pushing the fuel cell processor out into the car boot, where it becomes available to to a smart grid wherever plugged in! These fuel cells may be very much part of the energy mix in the next few years.

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