Three tiers operated in parallel
The commissioning activities of the KORE system took place over the last five days of January. This is the first time that all three tiers of the KORE fuel cell system operated in parallel, to dispatch power into the German power grid.
More than 1.3 MW of power has been generated and sold into the grid under the Power Purchase Agreement agreed with Stadtwerke Stade GmbH. KORE system automation was fully demonstrated for the first time, through the application of AFC proprietary software, moving on from the previous manual trials.
High power generation
In excess of 10 kW of power was generated from multiple fuel cell stacks operating within the KORE, against a design rating of 10 kW per stack. From a single tier of the KORE system (eight stacks), 83.3 kW of power was generated (against a nameplate of 80 kW for a single tier), and from two tiers operating in parallel (16 stacks), a cumulative 158.4 kW of power was generated (against a nameplate of 160 kW for two tiers).
This trial of the KORE fuel cell system in Germany – within the EU-funded Power-Up project – follows an extensive work programme on the individual 101-cell stack in December and January, when significant design parameters were adjusted. These improvements resulted at one point in the stack achieving a gross power generation output of 11.7 kW (against a 10 kW design capacity).
The decision to delay commissioning activities in December was designed to provide sufficient time to implement a number of these changes to design parameters into the KORE module in Stade. One of the key successes from this KORE system trial is the vast quantity of operational data that has been acquired, which will enable the team to fully assess and identify learnings to further enhance the stack and system.
AFC will now embark on a programme of design optimisation for the balance-of-plant and fuel cell stack to capture the latest learnings obtained on the KORE.
The second-generation fuel cell system is being developed with an expectation of being released later this year. This will focus on maintaining power output, while further enhancing system efficiency, longevity and availability, and incorporating an engineering cost reduction programme to ensure the system remains cost-competitive.