Tuesday, 23 September 2014
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Finland pilots waste hydrogen power plant

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a pilot-scale power plant based on fuel cells that utilise hydrogen generated as a by-product of the process industry.

The power plant, which has been in operation at Kemira Chemicals’ site in Finland since January 2014, produces electricity from hydrogen generated as a by-product of a sodium chlorate process and is the first of its kind in the Nordic Countries.

According to VTT, when scaled into commercial size, the equipment enables the reduction of energy consumption of the electrolysis process used for sodium chlorate production by 10–20 per cent. 

The electric power of the pilot plant is approximately 50kW, whilst the total electrical efficiency of the system, including the fuel utilisation ratio and the power losses due to auxiliary equipment and power electronics, is approximately 44 per cent. VTT further claims that the fuel cell operates at an electrical efficiency of 54 per cent.

Currently, the low-temperature fuel cell at the Kemira Chemicals site - which annually consumes around 578GWh of electricity - operates at approximately 60°C. In the future, utilisation of the waste heat produced by the system is expected to improve as advances are made in the development of fuel cell materials.

The project has provided information on the reliability of the auxiliary systems and components, and the impact of using industrial-quality hydrogen in PEM fuel cells. The strict quality standards governing the utilisation of hydrogen as traffic fuel today are an important factor in the price formation of hydrogen. In the future, a re-evaluation of these standards may facilitate a major drop in the producer price of hydrogen.

The two-year DuraDemo research project, now nearing its end, has been part of Tekes’ Fuel Cell technology programme. The project has been financed by Kemira Chemicals, Cargotec Finland, Wärtsilä Finland, ABB, Leppäkosken Sähkö, Konecranes, Woikoski, MSc Electronics, and the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries.

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Readers' comments (7)

  • Was I the only one who thought from the headline that they'd bombed or strafed the thing ? That would be suitable for many a "green"energy installation, but this one seems to be doing something useful.

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  • No, there were two of us!
    Best
    Mike B

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  • grumpy old engineer....you are not alone !!!

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  • Unfortunate headline - I thought the same thing!

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  • I was also expecting a story telling that the Finnish Air Force (do they have one ???) had used a hydrogen plant for target practice!

    Us Brit engineers must be a cynical lot !!

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  • I think that we are losing our grammar everyday due to text messages acronyms and even the spoken word. Correct grammer is now looking incorrect.
    Although I’ve not seen a boomshack- laa yet on this site I am expecting one soon.

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  • Interesting spelling of grammar there Warren ;)

  • ( Graham Brooks | 17 Jun 2014 1:24 pm

    I was also expecting a story telling that the Finnish Air Force (do they have one ???) had used a hydrogen plant for target practice!

    Us Brit engineers must be a cynical lot !! )

    Not cynical, practical….Civil engineers build targets, REAL engineers build weapons of destruction !!

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