DEMCOPEM-2MW project: World’s first 2MW PEM fuel cell power plant

The FCH-JU funded DEMCOPEM-2MW project is to design, construct and demonstrate an economical combined heat and power PEM fuel cell power plant (2 MW electrical power and 1.5 MW heat) and integration into a chlor-alkali (CA) production plant. A chlor-alkali production plant produces chlorine and caustic soda (lye) and high purity hydrogen. The hydrogen contains almost 45% of the energy that is consumed in the plant. In many cases this hydrogen is vented. The project will demonstrate the PEM Power Plant technology for converting the hydrogen into electricity, heat and water for use in the chlor-alkali production process, lowering its electricity consumption by 20%.

The partners have relevant experience in long life high efficient PEM power plant systems in hazardous environments like a chlor-alkali plant. A successful demonstration will pave the way for the roll out of the technology, staged cost efficiencies and further self-sustained market and technology developments.

 

Within the DEMCOPEM-2MW framework, the Politecnico di Milano developed a simple, open-source tool able of calculating how much energy can be produced with wasted Hydrogen (from different sources), and what could be the size and main features of a PEM power plant designed to utilize a given amount of hydrogen. The calculation could be useful for many industries dealing with waste H2. To calculate the preliminary size of a hydrogen PEM plant, please click the button.

Concept of DEMCOPEM

Concept of DEMCOPEM

Conceptual picture of DEMCOPEM-2MW project

The PEM power plant

The PEM power plant will be fully integrated into the chlorine production unit and will also be remotely controlled. The water produced by the oxidation of hydrogen is also used. To reduce the (maintenance) cost of the integrated plant special emphasis is put on the longevity of the fuel cells (especially membranes, electrodes and catalyst) and to lower the manufacturing costs. The design is optimized for minimal energy loss. Extensive diagnostics and data acquisition are incorporated to monitor the performance. The demonstration will take place in China as this is the ideal starting point for the market introduction. High electricity prices (up to 2 times higher than in Europe), 50% of the chlor-alkali world production and rationing of electricity all contribute to the business case.