Mr. Tuomas Hakala is a co-founder of Convion. At Convion, his main responsibilities are applications’ and business development and he manages Convion’s product demonstration projects. Mr. Hakala has over 12 years of experience in fuel cell industry. He joined the Wärtsilä Fuel Cell Group in 2007 where he oversaw balance of plant component selection and development activities and later process development. Mr. Hakala and a team of colleagues founded Convion Oy to commercialize solid oxide fuel cell systems for commercial and industrial applications. Tuomas Hakala, MSc (eng), has his background in high temperature metallurgy and aerospace engineering and he has been awarded several fuel cell systems’ related patents.
Waste water treatment is an energy intensive process, yet, with often unrecognized potential of energy autonomy. Embedded energy of sewage sludge can be extracted through a process of anaerobic digestion, producing biogas. The challenge to date for not fully utilizing this potential has been, that waste is a distributed resource and converting biogas to electricity by conventional technologies in small scale is limited by low efficiency. Similarly, cost of biomethane production at small scale is prohibitive.
Fuel cells change the game in majority of waste water treatment facilities where power generation potential is below a megawatt. With Convion’s solid oxide fuel cell systems, digester quality biogas can be directly converted to electricity at industry leading efficiency and by-product heat can be used for pre-heating the digester feedstocks, making overall efficiency very high. Fuel cell systems release zero local emissions of particulates, NOx, SOx, CO or hydrocarbons.
Globally, 80% of waste water is discharged untreated, leaving the energy potential unused and causing damage to natural environment and risking health and safety of people. A replicable solution for powering stringent waste water treatment for current and growing future populations has been demonstrated in industrial scale by Convion in a European project DEMOSOFC.