(EnergyAsia, March 10, Monday) — Finland’s Wartsila said it will deliver the world’s first planar solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology unit to produce electric and heating power for the Vaasa Housing Fair site in Western Finland.

Wartsila said the plant is fuelled by biogas or methane originating from a nearby landfill, and will initially produce an electric output of approximately 20 kW and a thermal output of 14 to 17 kW. The plant will produce both electricity and heating for the fair site’s needs at very high efficiency. The emissions from a biogas-fuelled fuel cell are very low, which means that the solution supports the development of sustainable energy technology.

The Vaasa Housing Fair to be held between July 11 and August 10 2008 is a pioneer in the implementation of energy production processes for a restricted area. Electricity and heating are produced and consumed within the area. In addition to fuel cells, power and heat are produced with microturbines and from low-temperature heat collected from the sea bed using a geothermal heating pump.

Wartsila said it is also responsible for building development and project-time financing for the power plant building at the fair site. Its partners in the project include Sarlin Oy, Mateve Oy, Suomen Lampöpumpputekniikka Oy, Sonera, as well as the city of Vaasa, Vaasan Sahköverkko, Vaasan Sahkö and Vaasan Vesi.

The Vaasa Housing Fair site is located in Suvilahti, about three kilometres east of the Vaasa city centre.
The fuel cell power plant to be delivered to the housing fair site is a part of Wartsila’s long-term fuel cell technology development project.

The fuel cell unit at the fair site is Wartsila’s first field application of this technology and is a step in the company’s development of environmentally friendly, cleaner and sustainable energy production technologies.

The landfill gas used by the fuel cell power plant is a renewable fuel, which means that fuel cell technology is compliant with the energy and climate package of the EU Commission. EU requires Finland to increase the share of renewable sources from the present 28.5% to 38% of energy production by 2020.

The significance of biogases increases in decentralised energy production. The benefits of decentralised energy production include more efficient utilisation of local sources of energy, shorter transport distances for fuels and reduced energy transmission losses. Biogas-based fuels are energy sources compliant with sustainable development. In addition to landfills, biogases are generated in agriculture and water treatment plants, for example.