Global Assessment of Hydrogen Technologies – Task 5 Report Use of Fuel Cell Technology in Electric Power Generation

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The purpose of this work was to assess the performance of high temperature membranes and observe the impact of different parameters, such as water-to-carbon ratio, carbon formation, hydrogen formation, efficiencies, methane formation, fuel and oxidant utilization, sulfur reduction, and the thermal efficiency/electrical efficiency relationship, on fuel cell performance. A 250 KW PEM fuel cell model was simulated [in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) with the help of the fuel cell computer software model (GCtool)] which would be used to produce power of 250 kW and also produce steam at 120oC that can be used for industrial applications. The performance ... continued below

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115 pages

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Fouad, Fouad H.; Peters, Robert W.; Sisiopiku, Virginia P.; J., Sullivan Andrew & Ahluwalia, Rajesh K. December 1, 2007.

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Description

The purpose of this work was to assess the performance of high temperature membranes and observe the impact of different parameters, such as water-to-carbon ratio, carbon formation, hydrogen formation, efficiencies, methane formation, fuel and oxidant utilization, sulfur reduction, and the thermal efficiency/electrical efficiency relationship, on fuel cell performance. A 250 KW PEM fuel cell model was simulated [in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) with the help of the fuel cell computer software model (GCtool)] which would be used to produce power of 250 kW and also produce steam at 120oC that can be used for industrial applications. The performance of the system was examined by estimating the various electrical and thermal efficiencies achievable, and by assessing the effect of supply water temperature, process water temperature, and pressure on thermal performance. It was concluded that increasing the fuel utilization increases the electrical efficiency but decreases the thermal efficiency. The electrical and thermal efficiencies are optimum at ~85% fuel utilization. The low temperature membrane (70oC) is unsuitable for generating high-grade heat suitable for useful cogeneration. The high temperature fuel cells are capable of producing steam through 280oC that can be utilized for industrial applications. Increasing the supply water temperature reduces the efficiency of the radiator. Increasing the supply water temperature beyond the dew point temperature decreases the thermal efficiency with the corresponding decrease in high-grade heat utilization. Increasing the steam pressure decreases the thermal efficiency. The environmental impacts of fuel cell use depend upon the source of the hydrogen rich fuel used. By using pure hydrogen, fuel cells have virtually no emissions except water. Hydrogen is rarely used due to problems with storage and transportation, but in the future, the growth of a “solar hydrogen economy” has been projected. Photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electricity. This electricity can be used to split water (electrolysis) into hydrogen and oxygen, to store the sun's energy as hydrogen fuel. In this scenario, fuel cell powered vehicles or generating stations have no real emissions of greenhouse or acid gases, or any other pollutants. It is predominantly during the fuel processing stage that atmospheric emissions are released by a fuel cell power plant. When methanol from biomass is used as a fuel, fuel cells have no net emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2, a greenhouse gas) because any carbon released was recently taken from the atmosphere by photosynthetic plants. Any high temperature combustion, such as that which would take place in a spark ignition engine fueled by methanol, produces nitrous oxides (NOx), gases which contribute to acid rain. Fuel cells virtually eliminate NOx emissions because of the lower temperatures of their chemical reactions. Fuel cells, using processed fossil fuels, have emissions of CO2 and sulfur dioxide (SO2) but these emissions are much lower than those from traditional thermal power plants or spark ignition engines due to the higher efficiency of fuel cell power plants. Higher efficiencies result in less fuel being consumed to produce a given amount of electricity or to travel a given distance. This corresponds to lower CO2 and SO2 emissions. Fuel cell power plants also have longer life expectancies and lower maintenance costs than their alternatives.

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115 pages

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  • Report No.: DOE/GO/12042-5
  • Grant Number: FC36-02GO12042
  • DOI: 10.2172/923761 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 923761
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc898709

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  • December 1, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 5, 2016, 6:26 p.m.

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Fouad, Fouad H.; Peters, Robert W.; Sisiopiku, Virginia P.; J., Sullivan Andrew & Ahluwalia, Rajesh K. Global Assessment of Hydrogen Technologies – Task 5 Report Use of Fuel Cell Technology in Electric Power Generation, report, December 1, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc898709/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.