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South Korean power demo using Ballard fuel cells

Ballard Power Systems is partnering with a South Korean petroleum refiner, to demonstrate waste-to-energy power generation using zero-emission fuel cells and hydrogen produced from municipal solid waste. 



March 16, 2011
by PLANT STAFF

VANCOUVER: Ballard Power Systems is partnering with a South Korean petroleum refiner to demonstrate waste-to-energy power generation using zero-emission fuel cells and hydrogen produced from municipal solid waste.

GS Platech, a subsidiary of GS Caltex, one of South Korea’s largest petroleum refiners, will stage the demonstration at its pilot plant in Cheongsong, South Korea. The plant is capable of treating five tons of organic solid waste per day using plasma gasification technology and producing enough hydrogen to generate 50 kilowatts of clean power.

Ballard, a hydrogen technology developer based in Vancouver, will supply a fuel cell generator that will be fuelled by this hydrogen.

“While conventional waste combustion – such as garbage incineration – can lead to the discharge of carcinogenic pollutants, our technology drastically reduces emissions,” said Young Suk Kim, vice-president of GS Platech. “This could certainly open another very promising application for hydrogen fuel cell technology.”

Michael Goldstein, Ballard’s chief commercial officer, said plasma gasification plants are another good source of high quality hydrogen, in addition to hydrogen-producing chemical operations, such as chlor-alkaline plants. “On a larger scale, this solution can produce a significant amount of electricity that could be sold back to the grid,” he said.

Ballard said this is the first demonstration of a waste-to-energy solution incorporating these technologies together. If the demonstration proves successful, GS Platech intends to take the technology to new customers worldwide.

“The treatment of municipal solid waste is a growing problem in many nations, including Asia Pacific countries with particularly high population densities such as China, India, Korea, Japan and Singapore,” said Ballard in a statement. “This solution can potentially allow municipalities to address two key environmental issues in tandem – environmentally responsible waste treatment as well as clean power production.”

The project has received financial support through the Government of Canada’s Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.
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