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Energy efficient and environmentally friendly multi-fuel power system with CHP capability, for stand-alone applications.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PROMETHEUS-5 (Energy efficient and environmentally friendly multi-fuel power system with CHP capability, for stand-alone applications.)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2017-08-31

The Prometheus-5 product proposes an alternative solution for power and heat generation, using hydrogen and fuel cells. Currently, the targeting market segment (remote or back-up power generation) is served by diesel or gasoline generators which rely on mature and relatively low cost technology. However, conventional gensets offer about half of the electrical efficiency (normally around 16%, in this power range), and present other significant drawbacks such as: high operational and maintenance costs, emission of large quantities of greenhouse gases (CO2, HCs) and atmospheric pollutants (SOx, NOx, CO, particulates), vibration and noise. Commercialization of Helbio’s system will result in power generators having electrical efficiency twice that of the conventional ones, leading to proportionally reduced fuel consumption, proportionally reduced GHG emissions and near elimination of emission of atmospheric pollutants. Also, the use of alternative to gasoline and diesel fuels, like propane/LPG, NG and, especially, biogas, a renewable fuel, will be introduced in the power generation market. The proposed system is based on highly innovative and efficient technologies, which have been developed in recent years by Helbio S.A. These technologies address major EU and global challenges, dealing with both environmental and energy efficiency issues and they are in accordance with the Roadmap for moving toward a low-carbon economy in 2050 (low-cost and low-carbon energy production, use of alternative fuels, emissions reduction, etc).

Primary objective of the proposed project is the industrialization of a highly innovative, energy efficient and environmentally friendly power production unit for decentralized power generation (Prometheus-5). The unit is of nominal capacity of 5 kW electric power, while in the combined heat and power (CHP) mode, it can also produce up to 7 kW thermal energy in the form of hot water. The unit is a multi-fuel one and it can be operated with conventional fossil fuels (propane/LPG and Natural gas (NG)) or Biogas (BG). The device is able to convert the fuel into electrical and thermal power by means of a fuel processor which converts the fuel and water into hydrogen and a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell. The unit is equipped with a power management system, delivering electrical energy in the form required (DC or AC, grid connected or stand alone), depending on application. It has the ability to operate in the range of 40-100% of its nominal capacity. Its electrical efficiency is greater than 35% (based on LHV), while total efficiency exceeds 85%. The integrated system consists of the following sub-units:
- Fuel processor/hydrogen production unit
- Power production unit (fuel cell stack + power electronics)
- Control module
The work carried out by Helbio during the first reporting period (RP1) is going on according to that described in Annex 1 and in agreement with the project’s Gantt chart. The work performed from the beginning of the project until the end of RP1 focused on the following activities:
- Standardization of the manufacturing techniques of the Prometheus-5 mechanical parts, for commercial production.
- Redesign of reforming sub-assembly (reactor, steam generator, heat exchanger).
- Standardization of the power electronics of Prometheus-5. The power electronics have been developed exclusively for the Prometheus-5 needs and are dedicated for that system.
- Standardization of the control module of Prometheus-5. The control module has been developed exclusively for the Prometheus-5 needs and is dedicated for that system.
- Construction and testing of Prometheus-5 subsystems. The reformer sub-assembly and CO minimization sub-assembly have been constructed based on the design standardized during WP1 and then tested for validating their performance. In addition the power electronics have been integrated with the fuel cell stack resulting in a power production system and tested for validating its performance.
- Several commercialization, communication and exploitation activities took place during RP1, including participation in workshops, commercial events and exhibitions, networking, promotion of Prometheus-5, etc.
"Prometheus-5 project proposes an alternative solution for power and heat generation, using hydrogen and fuel cells. Helbio's ambition is at the end of the project, to have established a complete and qualified CHP system, capable to be manufactured in high volumes at a competitive targeted price. Prometheus-5 product addresses major EU and global challenges, dealing with both environmental and energy efficiency issues and they are in accordance with the Roadmap for moving toward a low-carbon economy in 2050 (low-cost and low-carbon energy production, use of alternative fuels, emissions reduction, etc).Prometheus-5 product focuses on several challenges:

- ""Reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint by smart and sustainable use”.
The Prometheus-5 product is an energy efficient and environmentally friendly system, having electrical efficiency twice that of conventional technology (ICE diesel/gasoline engines), less than half of its GHG emissions and almost no emission of atmospheric pollutants. When biogas is used as a feeding fuel, its carbon footprint is practically zero.

- “Low-cost, low-carbon electricity supply”.
The Prometheus-5 unit produces electricity with lower cost and much lower carbon emissions per kWh. This is due to its enhanced efficiency (reduced fuel consumption), as well as its significantly lower operational and maintenance costs. Especially in the biogas case, the produced electricity is “green”, or essentially carbon- free.

- “Alternative fuels and mobile energy sources”.
The Prometheus-5 product is designed for use of three alternative fuels (propane/LPG, natural gas and biogas). Of course, propane and, especially NG are used as fuels extensively; however, the use of biogas for energy production is in very early stages. Development of power generators operating reliably with biogas may change the present status since, theoretically, there are millions of possible installation sites globally.

- “A single, smart European electricity grid”.
The current power generation/distribution structure is based on a centralized grid concept; the power is produced in large power plants at high voltages and then distributed to the users which can be both industrial and residential. This results in low efficiency due to transmission losses and the lack of generated heat. Development and commercialization of reliable, environmentally friendly and cost effective energy and/or CHP systems (such as the proposed one) will result in sufficient number of sales in various sites across Europe. The product will have the ability to interact with smart European electricity grids and provide the end-users the ability to self-produce heat and power. This can lead to decentralized energy production, within a smart European electricity grid, with several small producers.

- “New knowledge and technologies”.
The product is based on technologies which are new, innovative and novel. Small scale hydrogen production and fuel cells are highly innovative technologies which currently are in a commercially developing level. The proposed system can increase the penetration level of these technologies in energy markets and subsequently increase public acceptance and awareness in H2 economy."
Prometheus-5 logo
Prototype photo
prometheus-5 brochure