Publication Detail

Analysis of the Design and Economics of Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell Tri-generation Systems Providing Heat and Power for Commercial Buildings and H2 for FC Vehicles

UCD-ITS-RP-13-23

Reprint

Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)

Suggested Citation:
Li, Xuping, Joan M. Ogden, Christopher Yang (2013) Analysis of the Design and Economics of Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell Tri-generation Systems Providing Heat and Power for Commercial Buildings and H2 for FC Vehicles. Journal of Power Sources 241, 668 - 679

This study models the operation of molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) tri-generation systems for “big box” store businesses that combine grocery and retail business, and sometimes gasoline retail. Efficiency accounting methods and parameters for MCFC tri-generation systems have been developed. Interdisciplinary analysis and an engineering/economic model were applied for evaluating the technical, economic, and environmental performance of distributed MCFC tri-generation systems, and for exploring the optimal system design.

Model results show that tri-generation is economically competitive with the conventional system, in which the stores purchase grid electricity and NG for heat, and sell gasoline fuel. The results are robust based on sensitivity analysis considering the uncertainty in energy prices and capital cost. Varying system sizes with base case engineering inputs, energy prices, and cost assumptions, it is found that there is a clear tradeoff between the portion of electricity demand covered and the capital cost increase of bigger system size. MCFC Tri-generation technology provides lower emission electricity, heat, and H2 fuel. With NG as feedstock the CO2 emission can be reduced by 10%–43.6%, depending on how the grid electricity is generated. With renewable methane as feedstock CO2 emission can be further reduced to near zero.

Keywords: molten carbonate fuel cell; tri-generation; hydrogen; refueling