Frequently asked questions
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The BlueGEN is the most efficient small power plant in the world. The appliance converts natural gas to power and heat using ceramic fuel cells, although it is no larger than a washing machine. The electricity can be used in the building or fed into the power grid. Heat is used for the hot water supply in a separate buffer tank.
A BlueGEN offers numerous advantages for the user; you can find a detailed list here:
Advantages of BlueGEN
A BlueGEN produces enough heat to provide up to 200 litres of domestic hot water a day. However this heat is not sufficient to heat a residential or commercial building completely. The BlueGEN is an auxiliary appliance and is generally combined with a peak load boiler (exception: passive house).
In a low-energy house you may also need a further heat source for the domestic water.
Since the BlueGEN can be operated all year round, with an output of 1.5 kW you produce around 13,000 kWh of electricity a year, which you can either use yourself or feed into the power grid in return for remuneration.
In optimum operation, (at 1.5 kW, all year round), the BlueGEN consumes around 24,500 kWh of gas a year. That corresponds to about 2,450 m³.
Natural gas is required to operate the BlueGEN. Compared to a building without BlueGEN, although you will use more affordable gas, at the same time you will use considerably less (more expensive) electricity. So you will replace part of your electricity supply with your gas supply.
At the present time, the BlueGEN is only available with an output of 1.5 kW.
If you need less than 1.5 kW of electricity, the excess electricity produced by the BlueGEN is fed into the power grid and you will be paid a feed-in tariff for every kilowatt hour you feed in. If you use more than 1.5 kW of electricity, the shortfall in power is supplied from the power grid. This process works completely automatically; the user does not need to take any action.
BlueGEN produces electricity with extremely high electrical efficiency of up to 63% – better than conventional large-scale power plants. Furthermore, BlueGEN generates electricity in the building where it is actually consumed. This means transmission losses through the power grid are avoided. In addition, the heat that is generated is used on the spot, which increases overall efficiency up to 90%. All in all, this results in an efficiency advantage of up to 50% compared with conventional electricity production in large-scale power plants. For the environment this means: BlueGEN emits about 240 g CO2 per kilowatt hour, the German power plant mix which provides you with electricity from the grid would produce more than double this amount (550 g/kWh).
Parallel operation is feasible, however various aspects concerning installation have to be taken into consideration, depending on the number of installed appliances. Please contact us for more detailed information.
The following need to be informed if you want to operate a BlueGEN. Needless to say, SOLIDpower or your installation partner will assist you in this process.
Prior to concluding the agreement:
- Application for fuel cell funding KfW433 (German incentive programme)
- Other funding instruments
Prior to installation:
- Chimney sweep
- Gas supplier
- Supplier of electricity from the grid
- BAFA - Application KWK allowance
- Registration in the Market Master Data Register (Germany)
Annually during service life:
- Hauptzollamt (German customs and excise office) - Energy tax refund
- Power company - generated and fed in amount of current, details for EEG apportionment
You can obtain the necessary documents on the websites of the relevant offices or directly from SOLIDpower.
The BlueGEN requires a permanent connection to the power grid to operate. Operation independently of the power grid is therefore unfortunately not possible. Moreover, the BlueGEN is designed to operate continuously: frequently switching the system on and off is not allowed for.
Theoretically, you can feed all the electricity you produce into the grid. However, you will gain a greater economic return if you use as much of the electricity as possible yourself, as the savings in the electricity supply are greater than remuneration with current feed-in tariffs.
The electricity cannot be transmitted directly to someone, e.g. neighbours. In theory, the heat might be made available to someone else: however this only make sense in isolated cases due to the small quantity of heat supplied.
Like any gas appliance, the BlueGEN has been inspected and certified for safe operation in accordance with technical standards. The system has a built-in emergency-off switch that shuts the system in the event of a problem. Furthermore, the BlueGEN has been designed in such a way that no pollutants or gases can escape.