Karlskoga Energi & Miljö AB (KEMAB) has agreed to buy 20 percent of Morphic Technologies’ first demonstration facility in which wind power is combined with fuel cells to create an entirely new type of energy system.
The wind power and fuel cell markets have grown very rapidly in recent years. Since 2005 Morphic has been conducting an extensive development project aimed at combining the two technologies to create a new type of energy system based entirely on renewable energy. The goal is to enable a stable, locally based, and environmentally sustainable form of electricity production.
Under the agreement, Karlskoga Energi & Miljö AB will take an active part in the project and acquire a 20 percent stake in the pilot facility.
“For KEMAB it goes without saying that we try to keep our eyes open and seize the chance when development projects as exciting as these present themselves. Especially when we’re talking about ‘100 percent green’ energy and, what’s more, in partnership with Morphic”, Tommy Thalbäck, the CEO of Karlskoga Energi & Miljö, says.
“We are very happy that KEMAB will be taking a stake in the facility. They will contribute valuable knowledge about the needs and requirements of the energy market”, Morphic’s CEO and Group President, Jonas Eklind, says.
About the energy system
The basic principle in the conversion of energy into electricity is that the electricity that is generated needs to be consumed immediately. One problem with producing electricity from wind is that the output is much too uneven to make wind power a fully fledged alternative to more traditional types of energy. A wind turbine, for instance, only generates electricity as long as the wind is blowing; if there’s no wind, it stands still. Until now, there has been no effective way to store energy on a large scale and then use it during periods when levels of production fall.
Morphic’s energy system introduces an entirely new way of converting, storing and using energy from renewable sources. The system comprises four main components: an energy converter, a wind turbine, a storage tank and fuel cells.
Through a chemical process, the fuel cell-based energy converter converts the energy from the wind turbines into hydrogen or methanol. This fuel can then be stored and converted back to electrical energy using a fuel cell system at a later time. The fuel cells used in the system are of the PEM (Polymer Electrolyte Membrane) type. The fuel cells are fed with hydrogen and air, and generate electricity (DC voltage) and heat (hot water). The only waste product is water.
The wind turbines developed by Morphic achieve a maximum effect of 20 kW at wind speeds of around 32 km/h (9 m/s). In moderate winds, 18-22 km/h (5-6 m/s), the output is about 5 kW. The fuel cells in the prototype system have a maximum effect of 5 kW of electricity, at which point they also generate a heat effect of about 4.5 kW. Morphic intends to supplement the system with solar cells with a total maximum effect of 2-3 kW in order to demonstrate and test the technology for combined wind and solar energy.
The first demonstration facility is currently being built next to Morphic’s head office in Karlskoga. The system is expected to be fully assembled and tests of functionality and performance initiated in summer 2007.