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CFCL supplies 45 BlueGEN fuel cell micro-CHP appliances to Europe’s biggest Virtual Power Plant

Fuel cell manufacturer Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd (CFCL) announced today that the installation of 45 BlueGEN fuel cell micro-CHP appliances will start on the Dutch island of Ameland in November 2013. It will be the largest project in Europe in terms of fuel cell units connected within a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). The BlueGEN VPP offers a at least twice the efficiency and saves around 175 tons of CO2 emissions each year compared to conventional power production in the Netherlands.

The island of Ameland has set itself the goal of being CO2 neutral by the year 2020. The renewable energy projects that are being developed, which include a 6 MW solar-field as the largest single installation, will cover 20 percent of the island’s total power demand. The whole VPP project has a budget of nearly 1.8 million euro. In addition to Wadden Fund, a major financial contributor, other parties involved in the project are the Municipality of Ameland, Republiq Power, Sustainable Ameland, local businesses and installers as well as the renowned utility and energy companies Gasterra and Liander.

One of the main goals of the VPP project is to measure the impact of fuel cell technology on the power supply of the Ameland island. Furthermore, the project aims to demonstrate that a local smart grid for power generation can be modulated up or down to meet peak loads and balance intermittent power from wind or solar by using fuel cells. It is envisaged that on successful completion of the VPP project a further scale up of the number of fuel cell micro-CHP units will be required in order to compensate for the varying energy output of the solar park.

“CFCL has a strong track record of VPP installations in cooperation with several renowned partners across Europe. This large-scale project clearly demonstrates the next stage of Virtual Power Plant technology commercialisation”, said Frank Obernitz, Managing Director of CFCL in Europe. “BlueGEN power generation is constantly available and can be adjusted up and down to offset power grid fluctuations. Installed within VPP networks the technology demonstrates a progressive milestone on the way to a successful transition to higher energy efficiency and cleaner energy.”

Some of the other main goals of the projects are to get the general public to participate, to raise awareness for sustainable energy and to create new local jobs. Therefore, in the first stage of the VPP project, which is under the leadership of the Dutch project developer Republic Power, events will take place where citizens and companies of Ameland will be informed about the possibility of having a BlueGEN system installed in their home of business quarters. The first installations at residential or SME properties are expected to start in December 2013. The VPP project will run for 5 years, after which the participants can take over the BlueGEN units for an administrative fee.

About Virtual Power Plants:

A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is a cluster of electricity generation units, controlled and operated by a central entity using integrated software systems. It allows power generation to be modulated up or down to meet peak loads and balance intermittent power from wind or solar, with higher efficiency and more flexibility than large centralised power stations. Producing energy where it is needed eases the burden on electricity distribution networks and prevents distribution losses, which can amount to as much as 10 percent from large power plants using conventional generation methods.

About former BlueGEN VPP Projects:

BlueGEN systems have been integrated in a Virtual Power Plant for the first time in April 2012. Since then, BlueGEN technology is used as compensation to highly volatile
photovoltaic systems. A so-called Power Bridge identifies when the energy supply of renewable energy decreases, and controls the BlueGEN unit’s load. Thereby, the VPP uses an important advantage of BlueGEN systems: BlueGENs can be remotely controlled via internet.

CFCL’s experience of integrating BlueGEN technology into VPPs has deepened in cooperation with IBM and Alliander. In a Netherland-based project CFCL’s partners are researching and developing techniques that improve the balance between energy supply and demand using predictive analytics, optimization, visualization and advanced computation. Since May 2012 CFCL is taking part in a long term field test aimed at examining the process of controlling BlueGEN units remotely, the influence of extreme modulation cycles, as well as further impacts for the grid operator.

Since October 2012 25 BlueGEN units power Germany’s first commercial VPP. This VPP is operated by Trianel, the leading municipal utility network in Germany and Europe, with more than 50 local utilities as members serving more than 5 million customers in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.

About Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited: Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited (CFCL) is a world leader in developing fuel cell technology to generate highly efficient and low-emission electricity from widely available natural gas. CFCL has installed over 300 BlueGEN gas-to-electricity generators and integrated fuel cell units to pioneering customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Australia, and the USA. The company is also developing fully integrated power and heating products with leading energy companies E.ON UK in the United Kingdom, GdF Suez in France and EWE in Germany.

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market and the Australian Securities Exchange (code CFU). For more information, please visit www.cfcl.com.au.

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