Cefla presents NOVA, the first fuel cell cogeneration plant in Europe

Presented on October 19, 2023 at the Cefla HQ in Imola, NOVA is the first European installation of a fuel cell cogeneration plant for high-efficiency production of electricity and heat, without atmosphere pollutant emissions.

Last November, Cefla had announced its partnership with Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) for the production and deployment of new Fuel Cell systems that generate electricity without combustion, resulting in zero noxious emissions in line with the decarbonization goals set by the EU. 

Today Cefla presents NOVA at its Imola headquarters: it is the first fuel cell cogeneration plant installed in Europe. The peculiarity of NOVA is the application of solid oxide technology in a CHP version, which enables the production of heating power in addition to electrical power. Thanks to an absorber, NOVA is also able to work in “cold” mode and produce cooling energy. Fuel cell technology is 25% more efficient than an endothermic source (engines or turbines) – power being the same. It also guarantees a level of electrical efficiency equal to 54% throughout its life cycle – which translates into greater control in financial terms; in terms of achievement of climate protection objectives, NOVA can have a leading role – in consideration of the fact that it can adapt to different power sources.

The partnership between Cefla and Bloom Energy expands the offering of clean energy available to Italian companies, supporting them in their progress towards the the goal of energy transition. This technology allows a number of sources including hydrogen, natural gas and green fuels such as biogas and biomethane to be converted into electricity without any combustion being required, resulting in CO2 emissions either minimised or eliminated depending on the type of fuel, and above all, eliminating particulate matter harmful to humans, e.g. NOx, SOx, CO. 

Decarbonization, which starts from an energy efficiency enhancing system, is key to achieving the climate protection objectives of the 2030 agenda and to implementing the EU’s long-term strategy, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The role of fuel cells is crucial for many industries, from residential to industrial, and from the health care to the hotel and catering sectors, through cogeneration systems that include heat recovery. As early as last year, a well-known Italian automotive company created at its headquarters, together with Bloom Energy, a fuel cell system for the production of electricity.

Founded 91 years ago in Imola, Cefla is historically and professionally one of the top players in Italy in the fields of plant engineering in the civil sector (Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Allianz Tower in Milan…), energy supply sector (cogeneration and trigeneration) but also in the industrial sector and in the management of customer assets, including production assets. 

“Cefla aims to encourage an active debate on issues regarding decarbonization, in order to reduce the carbon footprint, and therefore, harmful emissions into the atmosphere. The first step in this direction is to help businesses and large infrastructures to generate efficiency. This is how our partnership started with Bloom Energy, a leader in the development of this innovative technology, which has allowed us to develop a complete solution including heat recovery, to respond to any companies’ needs in this field”

Gianmaria Balducci, President of Cefla

“Very often it is precisely our plant engineering and technological choices that ensure our well-being in the places where we live, or determine how efficient and ‘clean’ those spaces will be, or to what extent our technologically cutting-edge working environment will be able to improve our business,” says Massimo Milani, Managing Director of Cefla’s Engineering BU. “At a time like today, implementing innovative technologies that guarantee improved efficiency, such as NOVA, is even more strategic, especially if environmental objectives are also actively supported. In this energy transition scenario, a number of analysis and consultancy projects are being developed by Cefla with companies that wish to implement strategies aimed at achieving the Net Zero objectives set by the European Union”.

Massimo Milani, Managing Director of Cefla’s Engineering BU

“After the events of the past year, Europe’s business and political leaders know that they must focus on improving energy security. We believe that the choice of Bloom’s technology associated with the NOVA system designed by Cefla offers effective solutions for Europe’s new power savings mandate and is an important next step in its eventual energy independence”.

Tim Schweikert, Senior Managing Director of International Business Development at Bloom Energy

“The ecological transition is a challenge that concerns us all – nobody excluded. The public and private sectors are also called to work side by side to win this challenge, because protecting our planet is a priority that we have committed to for the benefit of future generations. It is, therefore, an excellent sign that a top-class industry player like Cefla, deeply rooted in our territory, has chosen to be the first in Europe to experiment with a cutting-edge plant in the production of clean energy. An excellent sign that is part of the strategy established at an institutional level by the Pact for Work and Climate, within the scope of which the Emilia-Romagna Region has adopted the objectives set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda”.

Stefano Bonaccini, President of the Emilia-Romagna Region

Cefla will attend the 2021 edition of Ecomondo Key Energy expo in Rimini!