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Weichai SOFC that Can be Applied to Distributed Energy and Microgrids

Oct 16, 2023 | Industry Company Dynamics | 0 comments

On February 18, Weichai Power held the world’s first high-power metal-supported commercial SOFC (Solid oxide Fuel cell) product launch. According to reports, the cogeneration efficiency of the product is as high as 92.55%, setting the world’s highest record for high-power SOFC cogeneration system efficiency.


It is understood that SOFC, as a new generation of fuel cells, is a power generation device that directly converts the chemical energy of fuel into electrical energy efficiently, low-carbon and environmentally friendly at medium and high temperatures, and is currently the new energy technology route with the highest power generation efficiency worldwide. Its power generation efficiency can reach more than 60%, and cogeneration efficiency can reach more than 85%.


At the same time, SOFC also has the advantages of flexible fuel, green and low-carbon, do not use precious metals, can use natural gas, hydrogen, coal to gas, biomass gas, methanol and other fuels, the use of natural gas SOFC compared to traditional natural gas generating units can achieve carbon reduction of more than 30%.


Chen Wenmiao, deputy general manager of Weichai Group and chief scientist of fuel cell engine, introduced that the SOFC products released by Weichai this time have a system power of 120kW, support modular installation, and can extend the power to the megawatt level, achieving a major technological breakthrough.


“Compared with traditional electrolyte support and anode support technologies, Weichai SOFC products have the outstanding advantages of low operating temperature and strong thermal shock resistance, especially the technical breakthrough from high temperature 800℃ to 600℃, the system can be started and stopped more than 4 times than the international competition, and the start-up speed is more than 3 times.” Chen Wenmiao said that the technology is suitable for multiple scenarios such as industrial parks, buildings, and data centers, and can provide green and low-carbon solutions for distributed energy and microgrids.


At present, Weichai SOFC products have been demonstrated in Weichai Fuel Cell Industrial Park and Weifang Energy Group, with a cumulative operation of more than 30,000 hours, and commercial operation has achieved a stage breakthrough. Yin Bo, deputy general manager of Weifang Energy Group Bintou Distributed Energy Co., LTD., said that in actual use, Weichai SOFC products run stably, with a net power generation efficiency of more than 60%, 1 square meter of natural gas can generate 6 KWH of electricity, and can be adjusted according to peak and valley electricity prices, peak cutting and valley filling, with good economic benefits.


It is estimated that when the installed capacity of Weichai SOFC products as distributed energy reaches 1GW, it can reduce carbon by about 2 million tons per year compared with electricity from the grid, and save natural gas by about 600 million square meters compared with traditional natural gas internal combustion engine generators. If biomass gas and green hydrogen are used as fuels, zero carbon emissions can be achieved.


Chen Wenmiao told the Securities Times reporter that in the future industrial park, SOFC technology will work with scenery new energy to play a “combination” of efficient energy use in the park.


It is understood that in recent years, Weichai has comprehensively laid out three new energy technology routes: power battery, hydrogen fuel cell and solid oxide fuel cell. Among them, since 2018, Weichai began to lay out the SOFC business, strategically invested in the world’s leading SOFC technology company, British Xilis, and became its largest shareholder. Up to now, a total of 2 billion yuan has been invested, and the two sides have set up a research and development team dominated by 100 doctors.


At present, the new energy industry is developing rapidly, and new technologies and new trends in this field have received more attention from the market. In view of the development of SOFC technology, Chen Wenmiao also admitted that the current purchase cost of SOFC is still relatively high, and the technology application is still in the early stage of commercialization. In the demonstration operation process, the government will also need to provide certain policy support and subsidies, but once the scale is formed, its market prospects are very broad.


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