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Make your building independent from the power grid

Thanks to the small capacity of this technology it is always installed in a decentralised manner, and all distribution and transmission losses are avoided, resulting in primary energy savings (and CO2 savings) of an additional 8% to 12%. Furthermore, a decentralised installation also allows the local use of 100% of the heat generated, which usually gives primary energy and CO2 savings of 43%.

The current state of power production in Belgium

In 2015, Belgium had a total capacity of 21,523 MW, of which 27.5% was nuclear. During that same year, Belgium used a total of 81.20 TWh electricity, of which only 65.50 TWh was generated in Belgium; the remainder - no less than 20% - was imported from abroad.

With the phasing out of nuclear power in the near future, an annual power generation (on the basis of 2015 data) of no less than 25 TWh must be generated by means of other technologies. That is the amount of power which is now being generated by the nuclear power plants, in other words, 37.50% of our total own production.


If we no longer wish to depend on imports, this capacity must even be raised to 40 TWh, taking into account the current consumption! This means that we have to increase our production by up to 40%, and this preferably by means of power plants using renewable energy.

Itinera (www.itinerainstitute.org), a think tank which independently and objectively researches major social issues, carried out a study which shows that investments of 10 to 13 billion Euros in replacement capacity will be needed to guarantee the energy supply security with a safety margin of +5%.
Because of the lower marginal costs of old polluting power plants and the subsidised investments in non-adjustable, weather dependent technologies (solar and wind) the lower market prices for power decrease, and no investment climate is created for new investments in new or replacement production capacity. This will result in negative reserve margins of up to -40% in 2024, making us even more dependent on foreign superpowers because of the large-scale importation of foreign energy.

Consumption profile

 Apart from the problem of the large-scale implementation of weather-dependent production capacity highlighted above, each of these technologies has its own influence on the national energy production profile. In this, the fuel cell technology has the advantage of being available at any time, and due to the small capacity per unit, has the required technical specifications to enable the generation of the local energy required for the building by means of local production. Local production is understood to be the generation of energy within the building where this energy is consumed.


The Fuel cell is available for 8,760 hours per year, in contrast to other generation technologies such as wind and solar panels, which are on the one hand 100% renewable, but which are not adjustable. These various technologies can potentially perfectly complement and balance each other in order to keep the lights burning for every consumer in Belgium in the most sustainable manner.


An additional advantage is that because of the continuous availability of the fuel cell (Power Unit), the amount of energy produced per capacity will be significantly higher. In the table below, you will find an overview of the total amount of power generated annually per technology.

 

Moreover, the annual production profile of the non-adjustable productions such as for instance solar, is, in most cases, not in accordance with the consumption profile of the end user.


By means of a well dimensioned mini power plant, one can ensure that all energy generated can effectively be consumed with the building, which limits the dependence on the grid to a minimum. If a photovoltaic installation is built which will produce the entire annual production, we see that there is an over-production during the summer months (and therefore injected into the grid), and during the winter a lot of energy is purchased from the grid; de dependence on the grid continues!


If, in contrast, a mini power plant is installed, this will have a stable and constant production curve during the entire year. This means that close to all power generated is used locally, so the grid is not needed at that time. The grid or a battery management can be used for the small imbalance.