Smart Grid Smart City project installs distributed generation and storage


Brendan Dow,
Managing Director,
Ceramic Fuel Cells
May 31, 2011 – Emerging energy technology company Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd has won a contract to deliver 25 high-efficiency electricity generators for Australia’s first commercial smart-grid system in Newcastle.

The Victorian-based company will produce 25 of the small-scale gas to electricity units, known as BlueGen,  

They will be used in the $100 million Smart Grid, Smart City project in Newcastle, north of Sydney.

The project is testing new technology for households and will also make use of distributed storage, which provides extra electricity during peak periods.

"The distributed generation of electricity – creating electricity near the place of use, rather than centrally – is an important part of the future of smart grids," Ceramic managing director Brendan Dow said.

Ausgrid managing director George Maltabarow said the company was testing whether fuel cells could make the grid more efficient "by flattening out peaks in electricity demand".

Ausgrid has been trialling the BlueGen unit at its "smart home" in Sydney since August 2010.
The trial has generated 9,283 kw of power and saved 10.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide, compared with power from the local grid.

"The BlueGen at the smart home has been generating about twice as much electricity as the family has been using to run their household appliances and charge an electric vehicle," Ceramic said.

"Any excess electricity generated by the BlueGen has been exported to the grid."

The contract was the second major order of BlueGen units for Ceramic. Smart Grid partners include AGL Ltd, IBM Australia, the CSIRO, GE Energy and TransGrid. The project is funded by the NSW government.