28 July 2010 – The Victorian government is among 14 customers across six countries to order gas-to-electricity BlueGen fuel cells according to a quarterly cashflow report released by their creator Ceramic Fuel Cells.

The demand for the cells comes after a CSIRO report confirmed that significant carbon savings can be made through BlueGen, which so far has had 12 integrated units installed and operating in five countries.

In its report the CSIRO determines that compared to the Victorian power grid, each BlueGen unit, if operated continuously, can save between 12 tonnes of carbon per year (just for electricity – ignoring the heat) and 33 tonnes of carbon per year (if all the heat can be used to replace an electric hot water unit). In Victoria the most likely scenario is that the BlueGen operates at 1.5 kilowatts and replaces or supplements a gas hot water unit, giving carbon savings of 14 tonnes per year.

To put these savings into context, the average household in Victoria produces around 10.7 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year from energy used in the home; and the report also notes that if an average home in Melbourne installs a 2 kilowatt solar PV system, and imports the rest of its power from the grid, the carbon savings are 3.2 tonnes per year.

Orders for 49 BlueGen units have been placed worldwide, with the Victorian government’s Office of Housing having ordered 30 units due to be installed in public housing properties in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria from late 2010 to early 2011 for an initial two year project period.

BlueGen also secured its first order in the Australian Capital Territory, with the single unit to be installed in the Canberra Institute of Technology’s Sustainable Skills Training Hub. The BlueGen unit is expected to be installed shortly before the new building is officially opened in September 2010 and will be demonstrated for 12 months.

Other key points from the report include:

  • In July Harvey Norman’s Commercial Division was appointed as a non-exclusive distributor of BlueGen units, initially in New South Wales and the ACT. The appointment of Harvey Norman Commercial Division as a BlueGen distributor is in addition to the appointment of green retailer Neco in Melbourne.
  • Harvey Norman Commercial and Neco will initially be marketing BlueGen products to commercial customers like energy utilities, local councils, housing and “green building” developers and governments.
  • An order for a second BlueGen unit has been received from Mitsui & Co, to be installed with leading Japanese gas utility Osaka Gas. This order follows on from the first BlueGen unit which was installed at Osaka Gas’s testing facility in Osaka in April 2010.
  • During the quarter Ceramic Fuel Cells installed BlueGen units with several leading German energy utilities. BlueGen units are now installed and operating with The German Gas Association, Alliander and E.On Ruhrgas in Germany, as well as with Kiwa-Gastec/Gasterra in The Netherlands. BlueGen units for other customers are being delivered, installed and/or commissioned – EWE, RheinEnergie and the German Gas Association in Germany and Cosvegas in Switzerland.
  • The strong interest from German energy utilities continued in the June quarter. The German Gas Association, an industry group of more than 1700 utilities, 1300 companies from the gas and water industry and 200 institutions, published a report on innovative technologies for the future which confirms that generating technologies with electrical efficiency of 50 per cent or more are a critical part of the German gas industry’s future strategy.
  • In order to meet this strong market interest, Ceramic Fuel Cells is recruiting two staff to strengthen the European sales and support team, as well as several staff to manage product installation and support.
  • Ceramic Fuel Cells continues to receive very strong interest from prospective BlueGen customers and sales partners in many markets around the world, including Japan, the United States and new markets in Europe.
  • In parallel with the BlueGen product, Ceramic Fuel Cells is also developing an integrated mCHP product to provide power, hot water and space heating. During the June quarter the Company continued to operate complete integrated power and heating (mCHP) units with its appliance partners in Germany, the United Kingdom and France. In Germany there are three integrated units operating with the Company’s partners Bruns and EWE.  These units have been operating since January 2010.
  • In the United Kingdom two integrated units are operating with the Ceramic Fuel Cells partners Gledhill and E.On UK. One unit has been installed with Gledhill in Blackpool since December 2009. Since March 2010 the other unit has been operating in a test house with EA Technology, a leading UK energy consulting and advisory firm.
  • Since January 2010 Ceramic Fuel Cells has also operated two integrated units with GdF/Suez and BDR Thermea, its partners in France.  One unit is installed with GdF/Suez in Paris and the other unit is installed with BDR Thermea in Mertzwiller.
  • There are currently seven integrated units and five BlueGen units operating in the field, in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia. All of these units have achieved initial electrical efficiency of between 59.3 per cent and 62.4 per cent – repeating the Ceramic Fuel Cell’s world-leading electrical efficiency in a range of real world conditions in many markets.
  • In July Ceramic Fuel Cells was awarded the prestigious Innovation NRW.INVEST AWARD for 2010, by the government of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.  More than 11,000 foreign companies based in North Rhine-Westphalia are eligible for the NRW.INVEST awards.