UK fuel cell partnership advances clean coal plans
London – UK companies Powerfuel Power Ltd, B9 Coal Ltd and AFC Energy Plc have signed an agreement to install AFC Energy’s fuel cell technology at Powerfuel’s Hatfield site near Doncaster.
The agreement envisages the creation of a joint venture between B9 Coal and Powerfuel to exclusively develop low-carbon fuel cell power stations in the UK.
B9 Coal will install up to 300MW of AFC Energy’s fuel cell technology alongside Powerfuel’s planned integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power station. The agreement also includes an option to rollout the technology worldwide in the future.
“Together we can offer a technically advanced solution to the problem of rising carbon emissions, as well as a practical and commercial template for clean energy generation,” said Alisa Murphy, director B9 Coal Ltd.
Powerfuel is constructing a large-scale IGCC, near zero-emissions power station with carbon capture capability at the Hatfield site. Initial construction will involve an 800 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) facility optimised for ’syngas’ conversion and operation.
Powerfuel then plans to convert the CCGT plant into a 900 MW IGCC power station fuelled by its extensive coal resources at Hatfield colliery.
The syngas used in the plant can be passed through a clean-up process to produce hydrogen as a feedstock for AFC Energy’s low cost alkaline fuel cells.
AFC Energy’s technology is said to convert hydrogen to emissions-free electricity at 60% electrical efficiency.
“In our IGCC project, the lowest carbon capture technology commercially available today will be demonstrated, but through this agreement and others like it, Powerfuel are looking forward at how the cost can be reduced further.” said Grant Budge, the company’s chief operating officer.
B9 Coal previously signalled its backing for AFC Energy’s technology during its August launch of a consortium bid for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) carbon capture and storage demonstration competition.
The consortium plans to establish a 500MW power plant at Rio Tinto Alcan’s Lynemouth smelter in Northumberland. This will combine AFC Energy’s fuel cell systems with Linc Energy’s underground coal gasification (UCG) technology.
The UCG technology produces syngas which is then passed through a clean-up process, resulting in separate streams of hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
Around 90% the carbon dioxide can then be captured as a by-product at no extra cost. The pure hydrogen is passed through the fuel cell, converting to electricity at 60% efficiency at a projected cost as low as four pence per kWh.