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J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor.. 2017;14(4):041001-041001-9. doi:10.1115/1.4036956.

The potential of an energy system that comprises hydrogen-fueled polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs), a steam reformer, and a hydrogen storage tank, using surplus hydrogen produced from an oil refinery, was evaluated using a mathematical model based on linear programming. The aim of this study was to optimize the capacity of the hydrogen-fueled PEFC, the hydrogen production of the steam reformer, and the utilization amount of the hydrogen storage tank in order to minimize the total system cost. Based on the optimization results, the system cost reduction and CO2 emission reduction effects were calculated in relation to the power generation efficiency and the installation cost of the hydrogen-fueled PEFC. As a result, the conditions for the hydrogen-fueled PEFC where a system cost reduction could be achieved in the PEFC power generation system, compared with the conventional system, were shown to be an initial cost lower than 3000 $/kW for a power generation efficiency of 50% or an initial cost lower than 5000 $/kW for a power generation efficiency of 65%.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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