Wärtsilä to deliver the world’s first SOFC fuel cell power plant using landfill gas to the Vaasa Housing Fair site

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release, 21 February 2008 at 10:00 UTC+2

Wärtsilä will deliver a unique fuel cell unit producing electric and heating power to the Vaasa Housing Fair site in Western Finland. The fuel cell power plant, which is based on planar solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology, is the first of its kind in the world. The plant is fuelled by biogas or methane originating from a nearby landfill. At the first stage, it will produce an electric output of approximately 20 kW and a thermal output of 14 to 17 kW.

The fuel cell power plant delivered by Wärtsilä will produce both electricity and heating for the fair site’s needs at very high efficiency. The emissions from a biogas-fuelled fuel cell are very low, which means that the solution supports the development of sustainable energy technology.

Unique energy production solution for the fair site

The Vaasa Housing Fair to be held between 11 July and 10 August 2008 is a pioneer in the implementation of energy production processes for a restricted area. Electricity and heating are produced and consumed within the area. In addition to fuel cells, power and heat are produced with microturbines and from low-temperature heat collected from the sea bed using a geothermal heating pump.

In addition to the fuel cell plant delivery, Wärtsilä is responsible for building development and project-time financing for the power plant building at the fair site. Wärtsilä’s partners in the project include Sarlin Oy, Mateve Oy, Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka Oy, Sonera, as well as the City of Vaasa, Vaasan Sähköverkko, Vaasan Sähkö and Vaasan Vesi. The Vaasa Housing Fair site is located in Suvilahti, approximately three kilometres east of the Vaasa city centre.

Development of fuel cell technology as part of Wärtsilä’s strategy

The fuel cell power plant to be delivered to the housing fair site is a part of Wärtsilä’s long-term fuel cell technology development project. The development of fuel cell technology is a part of Wärtsilä’s long-term product development aimed at supplementing Wärtsilä’s product portfolio. The fuel cell unit for the fair site is Wärtsilä’s first field application of this technology. The development of environmentally friendly, cleaner and sustainable energy production technologies is an essential part of Wärtsilä’s strategy.

Wärtsilä is one of the leading companies in the world developing fuel cell systems based on SOFC technology. The development is supported by close collaboration with the Danish company Topsoe Fuel Cells A/S and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The characteristics of SOFC technology include a high operating temperature, excellent efficiency and the ability to use several different fuels, particularly natural gas and biogases. Fuel cell technology is indeed regarded as one of the most promising forms of energy production in the future. Wärtsilä’s centre of competence for this technology is located at Otaniemi in Espoo. The Vaasa engine laboratory is also involved in fuel cell development.

The landfill gas used by the fuel cell power plant is a renewable fuel, which means that fuel cell technology is compliant with the energy and climate package of the EU Commission. EU requires Finland to increase the share of renewable sources from the present 28.5 per cent to 38 per cent of energy production by 2020.

The significance of biogases increases in decentralised energy production. The benefits of decentralised energy production include more efficient utilisation of local sources of energy, shorter transport distances for fuels and reduced energy transmission losses. Biogas-based fuels are energy sources compliant with sustainable development. In addition to landfills, biogases are generated in agriculture and water treatment plants, for example.

Additional information:

Erkko Fontell, Director, fuel cell unit, Wärtsilä Finland Oy,
tel. +358 40 754 4389

Juha Kytölä, President, Wärtsilä Finland Oy,
tel. +358 40 500 2936

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä enhances the business of its customers by providing them with complete lifecycle power solutions. When creating better and environmentally compatible technologies, Wärtsilä focuses on the marine and energy markets with products and solutions as well as services. Through innovative products and services, Wärtsilä sets out to be the most valued business partner of all its customers. This is achieved by the dedication of more than 16,000 professionals manning 150 Wärtsilä locations in 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on The Nordic Exchange in Helsinki, Finland.