Key Players meet to discuss Fuel Cells in the Built Environment

16 February 2012

The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation joined forces with the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, and the Scottish Ecological Design Association to organise and host a seminar at Edinburgh Napier University’s Institute for Sustainable Construction, after work on Wednesday 15th February. 

ECCI-SHFCA-SEDA-ENU-ISC may be a bit of a mouthful, but the ncombined reach of these organisations ensured a full house with a nice mix of delegates from business and academia, with interests in energy, engineering, sustainability and architecture.  Around 70 delegates represented more than 30 different organisations.  Many expressed surprise at the level of interest in what many had probably considered a niche subject up until that point.

Although most options for using fuel cell CHP technology in the built environment use natural gas as the fuel source, fuel cell technology can offer distinct advantages in terms of efficiency and carbon footprint when compared to ‘conventional’ CHP, which is itself an improvement on using separate heating and electrical generation.  John Lidderdale provided a colourful, non-scientific explanation of the reasons for the efficiency of fuel cells as follows.  In the ordinary run of events, you take your fuel, and “set fire to it or make it go bang, releasing energy.  All sorts of kit goes up and down and round and round, which drives an alternator and out comes the juice”, but with a fuel cell “you don’t do nall that crashing and banging in the middle”, which is where a lot of energy is wasted.

Read on to find out more about what the experts discussed.

Want to know more about how Fuel Cells could effect your business? Contact ECCI's Built Environment specialist Jim Hart.