English

Slimme Stroom Ameland (Smart Energy Ameland) is the first project in the Netherlands to deploy a smart energy network. On the island of Ameland – just off the north coast of the Netherlands – the project makes use of 45 highly innovative fuel cells. These units are placed in municipality venues, at local residents and with entrepreneurs, and can be collectively operated. By means of this project Ameland has a scoop in the smart, decentralized generation of electricity and this is a major step in the transition to decentralized sustainable energy supply.

 

Ameland Municipality

For the Municipality of Ameland sustainability is of high priority. Ameland and its four neighbouring Wadden islands have the common goal to be energy neutral by 2020. The WaddenFund and the province of Friesland, both acting as a stimulus to foster innovation and renewable energy projects in the region, support this ambition.

 

Smart Grid

In the transition to a sustainable energy supply, solutions for decentralized energy production, storage and buffering are essential. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are currently unable to deliver the constant energy supply needed. At the moment, this unpredictability is hedged by reliance on the conventional power grid from the mainland. Slimme Stroom Ameland shows that an alternative solution is a decentralized network, where energy is generated locally and supply and demand are optimally matched: the beginning of a Smart Grid, which on this scale is unique in the Netherlands.

 

 

 

The FuelCell

The fuelcell used in this project is a BlueGEN fuel cell module, a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC). The BlueGEN delivers 60% net electrical efficiency, currently the highest efficiency in the world. This means that the fuel cell stack produces more electricity from the same amount of fuel (gas) in relation to conventional electrical generators. The fuel cell is equipped with an integral heat exchanger to absorb the heat released when in operation. Including the hot water tank, the total system efficiency is around 85%. This high efficiency of the fuel cell creates a substantial CO2 savings. When the fuel cell runs on biogas, the whole setup would even be climate neutral.

 

 

Sustainability

The fuel cell produces electricity and heat locally when other renewable sources are unable to do so (if at night the wind is not blowing – neither sun nor wind – and energy is still needed). The fuel cell technology is therefore complementary to solar and wind power, and can with very high efficiency and dynamic adjustability generate power at the exact times it is needed. The combination of a high efficiency together with dynamic controllability makes this technology an essential asset in the transition to decentralized sustainable energy.