Solenco Powerbox™

The missing link for mass uptake of Solar PV

Background

Solenco Powerbox

The Solenco PowerboxTM functions as part of an integrated solution, in a chain of renewable energies: production, storage and consumption in the residential environment.


Solar panels function as the sole source of energy. Electricity needs are covered by the solar panels during day time and only the surplus is sent to the SPB™ to be stored as hydrogen gas.


When there’s no sunshine, electricity and heat are produced by the SPB™ from the stored hydrogen, together at 95% efficiency.
Zero carbon emissions.


Solar panels function as the sole source of energy. The SPB™ can work both on-grid and off-grid, hence, there is no strict need for a grid connection. There is no need for a natural gas network connection either as is in the case of competing solutions.

Electricity needs are covered by the solar panels during day time and only the surplus is sent to the SPB™ to be stored as hydrogen.

When there’s no sunshine, electricity and heat are produced by the SPB™ from the stored hydrogen, together at 95% efficiency.

It can function to cover the hot water needs for heating and sanitation. If production of heat would be higher than requested, heat will be stored in a hot water tank. In case the requested heat, is higher than the production. extra heat will be produced through a catalytic burner. The latter is a high efficiency (97%) burner with no flame, using hydrogen as energy source.

The whole system has a CO2 production of 0 gram. The product is therefore triple- zero-carbon: since neither the Production, Distribution, nor Usage introduces greenhouse gases.
The product is currently at Technology Readiness Level 7, with the product both validated and demonstrated in a relevant environment.

Reversible Process
Power kW


Hydrogen Storage
Energy kWh


Power
Management System


Cloud
Web
Application


Background

Specifications

Solenco Powerbox Specifications Table

 

 

Table – Solenco Powerbox Specifications
General specs
Empty net weight kg 358
Outer dimension LxWxH (m) 0,82 x 1,40 x 1,80
Reversible Fuel Cell Process
Technology
Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM)
Electrolyser Mode
Nominal Input Power kW 5
Nominal Production Rate Nl/h 1000
Water consumption l/h 1
Output pressure Bar 20
Purity of H2 % 99,99
Fuel Cell Mode
Nominal Output Power kW 5
Nominal Heat Output kW 4
Oxidant composition Air
Water Treatment System
Technology
Based on mixed bed resin
Water conductivity μS 1 or lower
Power Management
Voltage and Frequency Relay Type UFR1001E
Reverse current protection
Single phase / Three phase configuration

Application

Background

Use cases

  • Innovathuis

    Innovative and sustainable solutions
    combined in one house.

POWERBOX – Innovathuis

Project aim (2019)

The aim of the EU-funded Powerbox project is to commercialise the innovative energy storage solution developed by Solenco Power NV.
Solenco Powerbox allows homes and small businesses to cheaply store their own generated energy, for hours or whole seasons. The system combines an electrolyser and a fuel cell in one unit which transform electricity into hydrogen, store it indefinitely and then convert hydrogen back into electricity and heat with minimal losses.

  • GIA 2020

    Giacomini BENELUX

POWERBOX – GIA 2020

Project aim (2020)

The aim of the EU-funded Powerbox project is to commercialise the innovative energy storage solution developed by Solenco Power NV.
Solenco Powerbox allows homes and small businesses to cheaply store their own generated energy, for hours or whole seasons. The system combines an electrolyser and a fuel cell in one unit which transform electricity into hydrogen, store it indefinitely and then convert hydrogen back into electricity and heat with minimal losses.

  • Hoeksken

    IZEN

POWERBOX – IZEN Hoeksken

Project aim (2021)

The aim of the EU-funded Powerbox project is to commercialise the innovative energy storage solution developed by Solenco Power NV.
Solenco Powerbox allows homes and small businesses to cheaply store their own generated energy, for hours or whole seasons. The system combines an electrolyser and a fuel cell in one unit which transform electricity into hydrogen, store it indefinitely and then convert hydrogen back into electricity and heat with minimal losses.

Background

Q&A

Most frequently asked questions

Solenco Powerbox Q&A

What is the advantage of the Solenco Powerbox?

Hydrogen-based storage has the following advantages:

  • The storage capacity is unlimited and it is possible with a sufficiently large PV installation to store enough energy in the summer to bridge the winter. Hydrogen can therefore be used as a long-term storage facility to provide buildings with green energy throughout the year
  • The entire system is completely CO 2 -free. No fossil fuel is used anywhere
  • There are no toxic materials in the Powerbox and the lifespan is long
  • The system provides electricity and heat to homes in an efficient manner

Can I be fully autonomous with a Solenco Powerbox?

This is of course possible, but is not really necessary if there is a stable and reliable network. The role of the grid will evolve in the future to smartly share electricity with others. In the future, we will evolve more and more towards a “smart” grid that will coordinate all available (mostly decentralized) devices for production, storage and consumption as closely as possible via smart software. Just think of charging cars when the sun is shining or storing energy when there is a lot of wind at night but little consumption and there are many more examples.

Is a Solenco Powerbox better than a home battery?

The Solenco Powerbox can do what a home battery does for short term energy storage and adds long term (seasonal) storage based on hydrogen. It is a hybrid system that combines the power of batteries (many cycles with little electrical loss and fast response) with the power of hydrogen (very large energy storage in a smaller volume and for a lower price per kWh). Everything is controlled by a smart energy management system.

Batteries have a shorter life. The Powerbox is an environmentally friendly energy storage technology without toxic components.

Can the Solenco Powerbox heat my house?

The Solenco Powerbox is a so-called µCHP (micro combined power-heat, micro heat-power coupling) system that supplies electricity and heat. In most situations, the Powerbox alone will not provide sufficient heat output to heat up a building completely. That is why a connection with a heating system, eg a heat pump, is recommended. Exact calculations must be made for every situation.

Does the Solenco Powerbox offer a solution for the future capacity tariff?

Since the Powerbox tries to use as little energy from the grid as possible and always use the stored energy first, peak consumption is avoided. The capacity tariff is based on your largest consumption peaks over a period (eg per month) to determine what tariff you will have to pay for your electricity. Due to the Powerbox, these consumption peaks will be considerably lower, provided the installation is correctly dimensioned in relation to consumption.

How big is the Solenco Powerbox and the hydrogen storage?

The ground surface of the Powerbox is the size of a pallet (80 * 120 cm) and is approximately 180 cm high. The storage tanks have a surface area of 1m2 per 600 kWh energy storage.

What is my self-consumption with the Solenco Powerbox?

An average PV installation on a home without energy storage typically has its own consumption (simultaneous consumption) of 30% of the yield of the installation. The surplus is injected into the grid. This percentage naturally depends on the size of the installation and the consumption profile and is different for each situation.

An energy storage system can bring this self-consumption to an average of 80-90% and if the storage is sufficiently large and / or the consumption is very efficient, even up to 100%.

So aren’t there any downsides?

Hydrogen has been used in industry for decades. However, it is not yet common in our daily life and the built environment. We are familiar with natural gas and liquid fossil fuels for heating and transport, but hydrogen is still unknown and therefore new in our daily lives. There is no mass production at the moment, which makes the components relatively expensive. Prices will fall due to increasing volumes.

Hydrogen is stored as a gas under pressure, so safety is an important aspect. The necessary regulations and safety regulations in this area must be respected. The Solenco Powerbox installations are subjected to thorough inspections and certifications before they are put into use.

Do I still need a grid connection for gas and electricity?

A gas connection is not necessary if you heat with a heat pump. An electricity connection is recommended for smart energy sharing and participation in the future smart grid.

How efficient is the Solenco Powerbox?

The global energy efficiency is 90-95% if you consider the energy input based on renewable electricity and the output (useful energy) in the form of heat and electricity.

What is the power and how much energy can I store with it?

The Solenco Powerbox has an input and output power of 5 kW nominal. This means that up to 5 kW of electrical power can be converted into hydrogen as input. The output is also 5 kW electrical nominal. Peak output power can go up to 10 kW for a short time. During operation, heat is also released that can be used via a hot water tank to support the building’s heating demand.

The advantage of energy storage based on hydrogen is that power and energy storage are separate and can be dimensioned independently of each other. The storage of energy in this way is only limited by the available storage volume of the gas tanks. 1 kg of hydrogen contains approximately 33.33 kWh of energy. A tank of 1 m3 can store up to 600 kWh of energy under high pressure (300 bar). Several tanks can be connected to a Powerbox.

Does the Solenco Powerbox provide a solution for the rollback counter?

PV energy that cannot be used immediately is converted and stored. This PV energy is therefore not injected into the grid, which makes the Powerbox a solution for using self-generated electricity as well as possible. The investment is still high today, which means that in most cases there is no quick payback time.

When can I buy the Solenco Powerbox?

A limited number of installations are currently being tested in real situations (pilot projects). The Solenco Powerbox is therefore not yet for sale to the general public. You can stay informed of our developments by subscribing to our newsletter on our contact page

What will the price of a Powerbox be?

Currently, this form of energy storage is most interesting in combination with large PV installations, eg for companies and / or for buildings with several residential units. Today, a Powerbox is also an interesting option for project development with communal facilities to increase self-consumption and make it more sustainable. For a typical residential single-family home, the investment is still significant today. Solenco expects that if production volumes increase, prices can fall sharply and become interesting also for single-family homes.