The fuel cell stacks are running in industrial conditions in a PEM Power Plant at the AkzoNobel chlor-alkali plant in Delfzijl. Chlor-alkali plants produce hydrogen as a by-product, which fuel cells can then convert into electricity.
The Nedstack fuel cells are showing an extremely low degradation rate. The performance loss over the past 10,000 hours is only 5%, which suggests that this generation of fuel cell stacks will achieve a lifetime of over 20,000 hours.
Such a long life expectancy makes PEM fuel cells attractive for baseload applications, where – as well as initial stack purchasing costs – a long, predictable lifetime is an important factor in the total cost of ownership.
‘Our PEM Power Plant is operated at an industrial site, which exposes fuel cell stacks to conditions that are harsher than in the lab,’ says Frank de Bruijn, Chief Technology Officer at Nedstack.
‘Start-stops, emergency shutdowns and air contaminants are all part of the game,’ continues de Bruijn. ‘The fact that our stacks survive these with a low voltage decay over such a long time is excellent for international standards.’
Nedstack is finalising the construction of a second PEM Power Plant, for Solvay. This fuel cell unit will recover 1 MW of electricity and 1 MW of heat from a stream of hydrogen at the SolVin chlor-alkali plant at Antwerp-Lillo in Belgium.
Nedstack – the biggest independent PEM fuel cell producer in Europe – is also utilising its fuel cells as a power source for city buses and mobile phone towers.