Solid Oxide Fuel Cell System and the Economical Feasibility

[+] Author and Article Information
Erkko Fontell, Tho Phan, Timo Kivisaari, Kimmo Keränen

 Wärtsilä Corporation, Research and Development, Tekniikantie 14, Fin 02150, Espoo, Finland

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 3(3), 242-253 (Feb 05, 2006) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2205347 History: Received November 24, 2005; Revised February 05, 2006

In the paper, a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system is briefly described and its economical feasibility in three different applications is analyzed. In the feasibility analysis, the SOFC system is part of commercial applications where energy is used for power and heat generation. In the economical analysis, the three applications have different load profiles which are studied separately at different geographical locations with associated local energy market conditions. The price for natural gas and electricity varies by location, leading to a different feasibility condition for stationary fuel cell application as well as for other distributed generation equipment. In the study, the spark spread of natural gas and electricity is used as a base variable for the analysis. The feasibility is analyzed in the case of an electricity-only application as well as with two combined heat and power applications, where an economical value is assigned to the produced and consumed heat. The impact on economical competitiveness of possible incentives for the generated fuel cell power is estimated. A sensitivity analysis with different fuel cell-units’ electrical efficiency, maintenance cost, and payback period is presented. Finally, the maximum allowed investment cost levels for the SOFC system at different locations and market conditions is presented.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Efficiencies of different prime movers for power generation (12)

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Figure 2

Basic flow sheet for the SOFC test system (1)

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Figure 3

Schematic presentation of the power electronics and automation systems

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Figure 4

Relative energy consumption of the three selected applications (14)

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Figure 5

Seasonal variation of the electricity consumption in the applications (14)

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Figure 6

Annual electricity load of the CO application together with the fuel cell generated electricity (14)

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Figure 7

Annual heat load of the CO application together with the fuel cell generated heat (14)

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Figure 8

Schematic picture of the CHP application (14)

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Figure 9

Maximum investment cost as a function of ESs, with constant HSs for all the analyzed applications in the baseline case

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Figure 10

Maximum allowed investment cost for the fuel cell power unit in different applications, with HSs=2€cent∕kWh and a subsidy of 5.11€cent∕kWh for fuel cell-produced electricity.

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Figure 11

Allowed investment cost for the CO application as a function of fuel cell power units electrical efficiency

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Figure 12

Average carbon dioxide emissions per electricity production in certain OECD countries in 2001 (22)



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