Wärtsilä’s first fuel cell prototype starts operation in Espoo, Finland

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release 24 October 2007 at 09:00 UTC+2

The Wärtsilä Fuel Cell Programme reached a significant milestone in its development of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology. The first Wärtsilä WFC20 fuel cell alpha-prototype was heated up yesterday for the first time in the Wärtsilä Fuel Cell Laboratory in Espoo, Finland. The unit has a total output of 20 kWe.

The WFC20 alpha-prototype developed by Wärtsilä is the first SOFC power unit ever built in Finland and globally one of the first units based on planar SOFC technology in the given power range.

After the unit has reached its operating temperature of 750ºC it will start generating electricity. The unit will be operated at the Wärtsilä Fuel Cell Laboratory in Espoo, and it will provide electricity and heat to the power and heat grids, respectively. The WFC20 alpha-prototype is an integrated power unit that uses natural gas as fuel.

Wärtsilä has been developing fuel cell technology for decentralized power generation and marine applications since the year 2000. The technology used in the unit is based on the planar SOFC technology developed by Wärtsilä’s long-term collaboration partners, Topsoe Fuel Cell A/S (TOFC) and the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). TOFC is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Danish company Haldor Topsøe A/S, and one of the leading SOFC technology companies fully dedicated to development, manufacturing and marketing of solid oxide fuel cell technology. The project is a part of the comprehensive technology program of the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) in 2007-12.

Wärtsilä’s existing SOFC system is based on the use of natural gas, biogas or methanol. A fuel cell is a clean, efficient and reliable technology, which is regarded as one of the most promising energy technologies of the future because of its substantial benefits in energy production, including its cleanness and high efficiency of producing electricity, making it a highly attractive option for commercial power production.

Developing the energy generation technologies of the future, such as fuel cells, is a key element in Wärtsilä’s strategy for sustainable development. Developing fuel cell technology is a part of Wärtsilä’s long term R&D work.

Further information:
Erkko Fontell, General Manager, Research & Development, tel. +358 10 709 5228

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