The Nedstack fuel cell system was delivered to Solvay last summer, and installed on schedule in September. After several weeks of testing, it has now been running continuously for two months at the SolVin facility.
An electrical efficiency of 50 percent has been achieved, with a total efficiency – including heat recovery – of 80 percent. System availability is also meeting high expectations, even in this early phase of operation, at 99 percent over the past two months.
The PEM Power Plant is a milestone in the growth of the global fuel cell industry. With 1 MW of electric power output, from a total of 12 600 fuel cells, it is the largest PEM fuel cell system in the world.
The PEM Power Plant converts hydrogen, a by-product in the chlorine industry, into electricity and heat. The system at Solvay generates 1 MW of electricity and 500 kW of heat, to be reused in the production process for significant additional cost savings.
The chlor-alkali and chlorate production industries are very energy-intensive. Nedstack’s PEM Power Plant enables them to self-generate 20 or 40 percent, respectively, of their electricity consumption.
In addition, PEM fuel cells are emission-free, so their use allows these industries to make a significant contribution to meeting European targets for reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
In 2007, Nedstack delivered a smaller, 70 kW PEM fuel cell system to the AkzoNobel chlorine production plant in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. The AkzoNobel PEM Power Plant – which has been in operation for almost five years – requires minimum maintenance, and is monitored remotely by Nedstack staff.
The PEM Power Plant at Solvay has received funding from the cross-border Interreg project, Hydrogen Region Flanders-South Netherlands.
The Hydrogen Region project is coordinated by WaterstofNet, which is also supporting the construction of a new Dutch hydrogen fuelling station featuring an electrolyser supplied by Canadian-based Hydrogenics.