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Helbio Receives Order for High Temperature Fuel Cell Power System with Reformer Operating on Bio-fuels


Helbio S.A. in Patras, Greece, has received an order from the Centro de Biocombustibiles y Bioproductos, Spain for a High Temperature Fuel Cell Power System operating on bio-fuels like bio-ethanol, biogas etc.  The GH2 series  Energy Systems have been designed to operate in remote locations, without the need for external power input. It can be monitored and controlled remotely.

The GH2 Power System, ordered is the forth bio-fueled powered fuel cell of this kind sold by Helbio. The first unit was sold to an ethanol- producing company in Greece, and has now been in operation for about 24 months.

The system delivers 2 kW electrical energy, using bio-fuels (i.e. bio-ethanol, biogas) as the energy source. It consists of a fuel processor which converts bio-ethanol and water into a hydrogen rich stream, suitable to be fed into a  HT PEM fuel cell. Reformation of ethanol is carried out in the steam-reforming mode within specially designed reactor/catalyst system. Elimination of CO is achieved by a single stage water gas shift reactor. The effluent contains less than 1.5 vol. % CO. The fuel cell used in this system is manufactured by a US company. The fuel processor and the fuel cell are highly integrated and controlled via a common scheme, thus operating in a very efficient manner.

Facts about Bio-Ethanol

Bio- ethanol is produced via saccharification/fermentation of biomass materials containing starch and sugars. Second generation bio-ethanol production, by use of lignocellulosic materials, is in demonstration phase.

Use of bio-ethanol for power production has many advantages which include CO2-neutral production, ease of transportation and storage, high energy density of the stored raw material, local availability, etc. It must also be emphasized that the Helbio Energy System does not require pure ethanol but an aqueous solution containing about 60-80% ethanol. This makes the energy carrier considerably less expensive since the energy intensive separation step is reduced to a large extent.

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