Lab Canada

Demo site chosen for world’s largest solid oxide fuel cell

Toronto, ON March 6, 2003 Ontario Power Generation and Siemens Westinghouse have announced that the University of Toronto at Mississauga (UTM) will be the location for the first pre-commercial demonstration of the world’s largest solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plant.

The unit will be incorporated into the existing physical plant at UTM in the fall of 2003, following extensive testing at Kinectrics, the key engineering and system integrator on the project.

This will mark the first time anywhere that this leading-edge R&D technology will be tested on a commercial platform, according to Tapan Bose, director of the Hydrogen Research Institute at the University of Quebec at Trois Rivieres and president of the Canadian Hydrogen Association. Advantages of this technology include high rates of energy efficiency and virtually no emissions, he adds.

“Moving from the laboratory to real-life conditions is an exciting milestone on the road to more sustainable, Kyoto-compatible, energy solutions for electricity customers,” says Ron Osborne, Ontario Power Generation’s president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased to play a role in testing the commercial viability of this fuel cell system as fuel cells represent an important alternative energy technology for the future.”

The unit is capable of producing about eight percent of the campus’ current electricity needs as well as hot water the equivalent of meeting the electricity and hot water needs on an annual basis for more than 200 households.

The successful operation of the power plant on a commercial platform at UTM would represent an important step toward commercial readiness of this fuel cell technology. When commercially proven, such a fuel cell system could be located directly where the energy is consumed, such as small industrial sites, universities, hospitals, or even small neighbourhoods.

Siemens Westinghouse is developing manufacturing processes and is building a plant near Pittsburgh to house its fuel cells business. The company plans to come to market as early as 2006 with the unit that will be tested at UTM.