This agreement envisages the creation of a joint venture between B9 Coal and Powerfuel to exclusively develop low-carbon fuel cell power plants in the UK. B9 Coal will be responsible for installing up to 300 MW of AFC Energy’s fuel cell technology alongside Powerfuel’s planned integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant with carbon capture capability.
Initial construction of Powerfuel’s IGCC plant will involve an 800 MW combined cucle gas turbine (CCGT) facility optimised for syngas conversion and operation. The company then plans to convert the CCGT plant into a 900 MW IGCC power plant. The syngas used in the plant can easily be passed through a clean-up process to produce hydrogen as a feedstock for AFC Energy’s low cost alkaline fuel cells. AFC Energy’s technology converts hydrogen to emissions-free electricity at 60% electrical efficiency
Grant Budge, chief operating officer, Powerfuel Power Ltd, said: “This venture with B9 and AFC supports Powerfuel's aspiration of leading the drive for low cost clean energy from fossil fuels. In our IGCC project, the lowest carbon capture technology commercially available today will be demonstrated, but through this agreement and others like it, Powerfuel are looking forward at how the cost can be reduced further.”
The deployment marks the second clean coal project in the UK to adopt AFC Energy’s technology. In August, B9 Coal announced that it was putting forward a major consortium bid for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration competition. The groundbreaking project proposed at Rio Tinto Alcan’s Lynemouth Smelter in Northumberland will combine AFC Energy’s fuel cell technology with Linc Energy’s Underground Coal Gasification (UCG). This process could potentially give access to an extra 17 billion t of coal in the UK.
The planned installation at a major low carbon power plant, such as Hatfield, is testament to the growing understanding of the fuel cell as a pull-through technology for the widespread adoption of CCS.