The BLUEGEN is the most efficient small power plant in the world. Using ceramic fuel cells, the device converts natural gas into electricity and heat and is no larger than a refrigerator. The electricity can be consumed in the building or fed into the power grid. The heat is used for water heating in a separate buffer tank.
A BLUEGEN produces enough heat to provide up to 200 litres of warm service water per day. However, this heat is not enough to fully heat a residential or commercial building. The BLUEGEN is an auxiliary solution and is usually combined with a peak load boiler (exception: passive house).
Another heat source for the service water is also required in the passive house.
Since the BLUEGEN can be operated all year round, with an output power of 1.5 kW, you produce about 13,000 kWh of electricity per year, which you can consume yourself or feed into the power grid for a fee.
With optimal operation (@1.5 kW, all year round), the BLUEGEN consumes about 24,500 kWh of gas per year. This corresponds to about 2,450 m³.
Natural gas is required to operate the BLUEGEN BG-15. Compared to a building without BLUEGEN, you consume more gas, but at the same time significantly less (more expensive) electricity. So you replace part of your electricity purchase with your gas purchase.
In view of the uncertainty of many people about the continuous availability of energy sources such as natural gas, the question arises: does electricity generation using natural gas still make sense at all? There are two important aspects in favour of this:
1) Ecological aspects
The fuel cell stands for one of the most efficient technologies for generating electricity from a fossil fuel. As long as we do not yet manage 100 percent of electricity generation from renewable energies, fuel cells that convert gas into electricity are a very good bridging technology. Although the use of fossil natural gas as a fuel produces emissions, these are significantly lower than with conventional gas/coal-fired power plants. The fuel cell is therefore a step in the right direction and can help to reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation. Of course, the goal must be to switch to renewable energies in order to achieve the climate targets set. We believe that electricity from BLUEGEN systems will continue to make ecological sense for the time being.
2) Economic aspects
As of August 2022, the cost of commercial electricity from a power plant is significantly higher than the cost of natural gas in almost every country, even though the cost of energy as a whole has risen sharply in recent months. The so-called “spark spread” can be used to calculate how much cheaper a kilowatt hour of electricity produced by BLUEGEN comes from the grid compared to the purchase from the grid. In most cases, you will find that you will save money in the long term with the BLUEGEN.
Our recommendation is therefore: With reason and a sense of proportion, you can continue to operate the BLUEGEN. We will keep an eye on the situation and inform you further.
Currently, the BLUEGEN is offered exclusively with an output of 1.5 kW. However, higher power reserves can be achieved by cascading two or more systems, e.g. four BLUEGEN BG-15: 1.5 kW + 1.5 kW + 1.5 kW + 1.5 kW = 6 kW
If you need less than 1.5 kW of electricity, the surplus of the electricity produced by BLUEGEN is fed into the power grid and you receive remuneration for each kilowatt hour fed in. If you need more than 1.5 kW of electricity, the missing power is drawn from the power grid. This process works fully automatically, no intervention by the user is necessary.
BLUEGEN produces electricity with an extremely high electrical efficiency of up to 57% – better than conventional large-scale power plants. Furthermore, BLUEGEN generates the electricity in the house, at the place of consumption. This avoids transmission losses through the power grid. In addition, the heat generated is used on site, which increases the overall efficiency to up to 89%. All in all, this results in an efficiency advantage of up to 50% compared to conventional electricity production by large power plants. For the environment, this means that BLUEGEN emits about 240 g of CO2 per kWh, the German power plant mix from which you would obtain your grid electricity produces more than twice as much (550 g/kWh).
Yes, of course. Parallel operation is possible, but different points must be taken into account on the installation side depending on the number of installed devices. For detailed information, please contact us.
The following parties must be informed if you want to operate a BLUEGEN. ==References== Your installation partner will of course support you in this process.
Before the conclusion of the contract:
- Application for fuel cell funding KfW433
- Other funding instruments
- Chimney sweep
- Gas suppliers
- Electricity grid operators
- BAFA – Application for CHP allowance
- Registration in the market master data register
Annually during the operating period:
- Hauptzollamt – Energy tax refund
- Electricity grid operators – electricity generated and fed in, information on the EEG surcharge
The necessary documents can be found on the websites of the respective parties or directly from SolydEra.
For the operation of the BLUEGEN, a permanent connection to the power grid is a prerequisite. An operation independent of the power grid is therefore unfortunately not possible. Furthermore, the BLUEGEN is designed for continuous operation, a frequent switching on and off of the system is not provided.
Theoretically, you can feed all the electricity produced into the grid. However, you will achieve a higher economic benefit if you use as much electricity as possible yourself, as the savings in electricity purchase are higher than the current remuneration for the electricity fed in.
The electricity cannot be forwarded via a direct line, e.g. to the neighbour. The heat can theoretically also be made available to another party, but this only makes sense in individual cases due to the low amount of heat.
Like any gas heater, the BLUEGEN is tested and certified for safety in accordance with the technical standards. The system has an integrated emergency shutdown that shuts down the system in the event of a problem. In addition, the BLUEGEN is designed in such a way that no pollutants or gases can escape.