31 March 2011 – More than 50 units of the Australian pioneered fuel cell technology BlueGen have been installed globally with 75 more units under order including 30 in Australia, according to the manufacturer of the unit, Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd.
However, more extensive take up of the unit which CFC says is far more carbon efficient than photo voltaic solar cells, would occur with a more proactive feed-in tariff from governments, according to the company’s managing director Brendan Dow.
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“The key to extensive takeup is the government agreeing to pay a feed-in tariff for producers feeding electricity into the grid,” Mr Dow said.
“The government still hasn’t got its head around low-emission as opposed to no-emission technology. Until a feed-in tariff is paid the company will be supplying to organisations which can use all the electricity they produce.”
Mr Dow said that current costs are around $50,000 for each unit, but this was expected to drop as the number of units in the market increased.
The product, which generates electricity from natural gas, is about the size of a small dishwasher and has now been installed in buildings in Germany, the UK, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Japan, the US as well as Australia (two in Melbourne and one each in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide).
Mr Dow said the units, generate electricity from natural gas, reduce carbon footprint by five times as much as is possible from a typical home solar photo voltaic system, with savings of up to $1000 possible off a typical Australian household energy bill.
BlueGen is owned by Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd which was formed in 1992 by Australia’s CSIRO and a consortium of leading energy and industrial companies. The company is based in Melbourne, Australia, with offices in the UK and Germany.
CFC said that a recent report by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Techology, Potential Opportunities for Increased Fuel Cell Deployment in Australia: A Ceramic Fuel Cell Case Study, determined that BlueGen units could be utilised in many ways to either assist buildings earn energy and low carbon accreditation or comply with new, green building codes throughout Australia.