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DEMOnstration of large SOFC system fed with biogas from WWTP

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - DEMOSOFC (DEMOnstration of large SOFC system fed with biogas from WWTP)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2020-10-31

DEMOSOFC has been a five year project with an aim of demonstrating a medium-scale distributed CHP system (sub-MW, electric power of 174 kW and thermal recovery of 90 kW) based on SOFC and fed with locally available biogas produced in a waste water treatment plant. The overall objectives of the project have been:
• Demonstration (DEMO) and in-deep analysis of an innovative solution for distributed CHP generation based on SOFC in the domain of sub-MW distributed CHP.
• DEMO of a distributed CHP system fed by a biogenous CO2-neutral fuel. The considered fuel is digester gas from anaerobic digestion of municipal wastewater.
• DEMO in a real industrial site, i.e. the wastewater treatment plant providing biogas to the SOFC.
• ACHIEVEMENT of the high performance of the integrated SOFC system
• EXPLOITATION and BUSINESS analysis scenarios for the implementation of several integrated biogas SOFC plants across Europe.
• DISSEMINATION of the higher energy and environmental performance of such systems and analysis of available market opportunities.
In general, DEMOSOFC has achieved its technical objectives and the experience has been complete. Nevertheless, several delays occurred in the phases of installation of the DEMO (WP3), which have determined consequent delays in the operation of the DEMO (WP4) and in the analysis (WP5) activities, and the target of installing 3 SOFC modules has not been reached (installation of 2 out of 3 Modules).
WP1: Management and Coordination.
The project management structure and flows supported in a good way the Consortium activities and decisions. The main challenge of the project – the installation and day-by-day operation of the demonstrator - required a remarkable dedication from the involved partners both from the management and from a financial point of view.
WP2: Energy modelling, design and detailed engineering of the DEMO plant.
The Detailed Engineering of the DEMO was achieved during the 1RP and 2RP. All the Deliverables of WP2 are pubic and available in the portal.
WP3: Installation of the DEMO.
The installation of the DEMO started in M14 (October 2016) but it had a significant delay compared to the schedule. Delivery of the SOFC Module 1 (58 kWe) in Torino: June 2017
• Completion of all the works (civil, mechanical, electrical) on the SMAT site, to host 3 SOFC modules: end of August 2017 (M24)
• Commissioning of the SOFC Module 1: October 2017 (M26)
• Delivery and commissioning of the SOFC Module 2 (45 kWe): October 2018 (M38)
• Delivery and commissioning of the SOFC Module 3: during the evolution of the project, it was foreseen in May 2020 (M57), but the module has not been delivered because of delays on the supply of the stacks to CONVION
WP4: Operation of the DEMO.
The SOFC Module 1 (58 kWe) has been started in October 30th, 2017. The run periods have been interrupted by some maintenance periods, some of them in Finland. In the complete period, the SOFC Module 1 has operated with an average capacity factor close to 50%.
The SOFC Module 2 (45 kWe) has started its operation in October 25th, 2018. The operation has been quite continuous for the period of the project. In the complete period, SOFC Module 2 has operated with an average capacity factor close to 60%.
The SOFC Module 3 has never been installed, because of delays on the supply of the stacks to CONVION.
WP5: Data collection and analysis of the DEMO.
At M62 the status of WP5 can be summarized as follows:
• Analysis of the long-term data of the SOFC Module 1, SOFC Module 2 and whole system has been performed, from the aspect of electricity production, heat recovery, and global behavior of the complete plant. The target of efficiencies (electrical >50%, global >80%) have bee achieved.
• Management of on-site events have been collected in 3RP and 4RP, and analysed in 4RP
• Emission measurements for the installed SOFC Module 1 and 2 have been carried out on-site. The emissions measurements confirm SOFC technology as a very clean alternative to conventional biogas utilization technologies.
WP6: Exploitation.
In terms of business analysis, we have mostly analysed the application of SOFC systems in the following market at the European scale:
• waste water treatment plans (the typology of application developed in the DEMO of the project)
As part of the preliminary analysis, we have also:
• characterized the WWTP in EU-28 having 20,000 to 1,100,000 population equivalent into five archetypes to aid the market size evaluation,
• performed an assessment for biogas upgrade as one of the biogas exploitation routes, and
• characterized price and quantity-based incentives for biogas exploitation in EU-28.
The exploitation activity started a preliminary work in June 2018 and engaged with SSERR in M38 (October 2018). The exploitation plan for every single partner has been completed by the end of the project (M62).
WP7: Dissemination, communication.
DEMOSOFC project is supported by different communication tools to reach the broader audience during every development (The web site - The blog - ,Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+. Further communication tools are: press releases; newsletter sent to more than 200 professional contacts; EDULab an educational format developed with popular science experts; participation to scientific seminars and workshops; scientific publications with Open Access. With the plant visits, professionals, technical leaders and students have the chance of onsite visits with presentations and Q&A with SMAT professionals and POLITO researchers.
The main progresses beyond the state of the art, achieved in the project, are here listed:
• OBJECTIVE: DEMOSOFC has runned a plant of 110 kWe (+ 45 kWth) fed by biogas from WWTP. No industrial size SOFC-based systems were present in EU so far.
• OBJECTIVE: The EU target is CAPEX 6000-10000 €/kW. The target obtained, according to the figures at April 2019 and not evolved, is around 11.894 €/kW.
• OBJECTIVE: We have measured an electrical efficiency ranging from 52-53% (nominal point) to 58% (@ 70% partial load), and an overall efficiency in the range 80-90% for 53% of operation hours.
• OBJECTIVE: The CO2 emissions will be neutral (biogas fuel) but also significantly lower compared to an ICE (reduction of 27%). The other contaminants (NOx, SOx, CO, PM, VOC) are negligible.
The socio-economic benefits consisted of:
1) Green House Gas (GHG) reduction; moreover, the fuel feeding the SOFC was biogas, that is CO2 neutral
2) Localized air quality improvements: the quality of the exhaust gases (in terms of SOx, NOx, and especially PM) is better to the quality of the air there around
3) Energy security benefits: the SOFC module is able to pass in island mode in case of a local blackout; moreover, the SOFC uses local resources (biogas), adding an element of energy security
4) Energy efficiency: in the size of application of DEMOSOFC (below 1 MW) the difference in efficiency compared to the main competitors (ICEs) can be more than 15 percentage points.
5) Creating jobs: a reliable fuel cell industry can enable the creation of high skilled, high value jobs, especially in the total value chain (local sites) thus decreasing the unemployment statistics.
6) Boosting investment: the fuel cell industry can create business opportunities which will attract significant investors from all over the world, thus improving Europe’s economy.
DEMOSOFC plant with 2 installed SOFC modules - update 2019
DEMOSOFC, SOFC module 1 running - view of the Convion operator panel
DEMOSOFC plant visit
DEMOSOFC plant view
SOFC module 2 in operation - operator panel view
DEMOSOFC conceptual layout.
Qualvista gas analyzer: ordinary mainenance with Qualvista operator
SMAT Collegno WWTP aerial view.
Biogas purification system
Biogas cleaning and compression unit
DEMOSOFC plant aerial view
DEMOSOFC area (SOFC and cleaning unit): aerial view
DEMOSOFC plant with 2 modules
Chinese delegation visit