MILAN-Edison, a lead energy company of the Montedison Group, signed a co-operation agreement with Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. (Orlando, Florida – USA) for SOFC/GT hybrid technology (solid oxide fuel cells combined with gas turbine) for the high efficiency production of environmentally friendly electric power.
According to this agreement, Edison will install a 320 kW SOFC/GT hybrid system in its power plant at Spinetta Marengo (Alessandria). For this system-scheduled to begin operation in 2002-Edison will also attend engineering, start-up, test phases and operation.
Thanks to the combination of fuel cells and gas turbine, the power plant supplied with natural gas will reach an electrical efficiency of 58 percent. With larger plants/systems the efficiency can get to 70 percent, a higher level than any other system available or under development.
From an environmental point of view, SOFC/GT hybrid has no sulphurous or dust emissions. Carbon dioxide and NOx emissions are reduced respectively by 20 percent and 98 percent when compared to common co-generation combined cycle power stations supplied with natural gas which are actually considered the most efficient and environmentally friendly form of electric power production.
“The environment is a business opportunity to address with technology,” said Giulio Del Ninno, Edison CEO. “Today’s initiative puts Edison and Italy at the top of the world sustainable energy development challenge. Edison confirms its position as a high quality energy producer.”
“This power plant will be the first in Italy and the third SOFC/GT hybrid system to operate in the world, after the 220 kW power plant went on line a few weeks ago in California and the 320 kW power plant to be completed next year in Germany,” said Renzo Tani, CEO of Siemens in Italy.
“We know that the future production and distribution of energy could take place with these hybrid power plants because they offer efficient use of natural resources and have lower emissions into the atmosphere and supply power to single towns, industrial or residential areas,” said Tani.