28 July 2010 – The Victorian government is among 14 customers across six countries to order gas-to-electricity BlueGen fuel cells from Ceramic Fuel Cells, according to a company report released today.

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, the company said in a media statement.

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.

The CSIRO report said 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.

– by Andrew Starc

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