Fuel cell development has reached the stage at which planning must be undertaken for system integration into real commercial applications. These decisions must be made against the background of the size of plant, the fuel to be used, the application area and the preferred type of fuel cell.
The objective of this project is to undertake techno-economic analyses of a number of potential fuel cell based integrated energy systems to establish the most promising routes for the development of large scale applications and the key factors which must be addressed for the optimization of such systems.
The potential fuels include coal, natural gas, biomass and hydrogen. Coal will require gasification with subsequent treatment of the fuel gas. Methane will require reforming to hydrogen, CO, CO2 and H2O. Biomass can be gasified, pyrolysed leaving a char which can then be gasified, or converted to methanol or ethanol. The hydrogen can be produced either by electrolysis of water or as a by-product of some other process. Oil based fuels are also a possibility, but are not so attractive because the conversion routes are potentially more complicated.
While the application areas can superficially be identified in an unambiguous way, there are usually technical or operational overlaps between the different classifications. Nonetheless, a number of categories can be recognized: the fuel cell as part of an energy storage system, low-temperature cogeneration, high temperature cogeneration with gas and steam-turbine bottoming cycles, the simultaneous provision of electricity and refrigeration, air-conditioning or industrial heat recovery etc...
Approximately 20 cases studies will be undertaken across the spectrum of applications and fuel cell types, including various options for fuel processing and gas treatment.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts