SEOUL — South Korea’s first solid oxide fuel cell power plant was put into commercial operation to generate electricity that can be used by about 14,000 households annually. The plant is equipped with an innovative module to supply hot water by recovering heat emitted from fuel cells.
The 4.2-megawatt solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plant run by Korea East-West Power (EWP), a public power generation company, opened at a leisure and sports center in the eastern port city of Donghae in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 8. About 24.7 billion won ($19.6 million) was invested in the SOFC project
Heat generated in the process of operating fuel cells will be supplied free of charge for 20 years for heating and hot water to a swimming pool in the leisure and sports center, which is to open in the first half of 2023. “We will continue to actively promote new and renewable energy projects to share profits with the local community and lead the transition to eco-friendly energy,” EWP’s business division head Cho Sang-ki said in a statement.
On an order placed by EWP, SK ecoplant was in charge of designing and installing fuel cells. In cooperation with its American partner, Bloom Energy, which produces power generators and SOFCs, SK ecoplant has introduced an innovative heat recovery module that increased energy efficiency.
SK ecoplant, a builder affiliated with South Korea’s conglomerate SK Group, is working with Bloom Energy to tap overseas cogeneration markets with advanced heat supply SOFC solutions capable of supplying electricity and heat together.
Hydrogen fuel cell power generation systems are ideal for providing power to microgrids, which are networks of small, isolated smart power grids, in urban environments. SOFCs are an electrochemical conversion device that produces electricity directly from oxidizing a fuel. Due to their extremely high electrical efficiencies and low operating costs, SOFCs are emerging as a fast-growing fuel cell segment.
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