Thursday, 3 March 2011

Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited show the Bluegen MCHP at the Ecobuild show London 1-3 March 2011

Ceramic fuel cells limited Bluegen unit was being displayed at the Ecobuild show March 3, 2011 on the E.ON stand. The unit was placed on the side of the stand and was getting interest. The Bluegen had the side and back covers removed so the internals could be seen. E.ON’s stand was in the renewable section of the Ecobuild show which had mainly solar and air source heat pump stands. Paddy was one of the Ceramic fuel cells limited sales staff on the stand and answered most of my questions regarding the Bluegen and E.ON’s adaptation MCHP unit which uses the Gennex fuel stack as its core. E.ON has yet to name their Gennex MCHP adaptation and a release date has not been finalized. Due to this, there is no marketing/advertising program in place. It was interesting why E.ON was displaying the Bluegen as they are not directly marketing it, maybe to gauge interest.

Ceramic fuel cells rely on their partners such as E.ON, EWE, GDF etc to market the product so at the moment it is a waiting game for them until Bluegen and Gennex MCHP adaptations come to market. As far as they are concerned the Bluegen is a fully tested unit ready for sale to the mass market which is their main target, they want to take the Bluegen / Gennex product global. This is the same case when it comes to the price. There is no price tag on the unit. It will be their partners who will fix their price and whether it is leased to their clients. There is also the service maintenance cost to include. The unit requires a service every 12 months which consists of changing water intake filters and gas intake filters. The Gennex fuel cell module has a life span of 5 years and will require replacing around that time. This is why it may be better to lease the units as this can be included in the lease plan if leasing will be available. Ceramic fuel cells say these units are not for the DIY’er and must be installed and serviced by qualified trained staff.

There maybe some subsidies for the Bluegen and its adaptation. Germany is toying with the idea of adding it to their renewable subsidies but this is not in stone. There is a $1 Bln fund in Germany and with EWE currently testing the unit it is the belief of the Ceramic fuel cells sales staff that Bluegen will eventually get accredited for this. As for shareholders of the company getting a discount they had no comment.

The Gennex fuel stack is the heart of the unit and other adaptations. The system cannot be scaled down (only up) so there is no possibility of a Micro-Micro CHP portable unit. There are other competitors out there including the Whispergen which is not a Ceramic fuel cells limited product. This is mainly for heating and uses a sterling engine to produce power from the exhaust heat. This according to Ceramic fuel cells limited will mean that for 6 months of the year the unit will not produce much power to sell back to the grid where Bluegen is mainly geared to power generation. The Bluegen has the advantage as it can easily be configured to use other hydrocarbon gases such as shell gas, hydrogen, methane, bio gas etc.

The Bluegen product is ready, all Ceramic Fuel Cells need to do is sell it to the masses. It is cutting edge technology that can only get better with time. There are no plans for Ceramic fuel cells limited to use the Gennex technology for other applications other than MCHP units. There is also the installation and maintenance training that will be required by their partners, which is what some of them are doing now. With E.ON needing to order 100000 units, between 2012 to 2018 to keep exclusivity it is up to them to get a foothold in the UK market not Ceramic fuel cells limited.

Photo: E.ON stand © Sean Orion
Composed @ EcoBuild London © Sean Orion 2011

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