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Case Study

Fuel cell performance and cost attribute study

inverter house, solar storage

A major utility company requested a Fuel Cell Performance and Cost Attribute Study to provide needed inputs for resource planning models and for generation business planning.

Approach

The Study detailed the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) costs, performance metrics, capabilities/limitations, as well as the expected Variable and Fixed Operating Costs for the fuel cell facilities, which are to be located in a major US West Coast utility service territory.

The study defined the cost and performance attributes for an electric-generation-only Fuel Cell (FC) of four varying capacities (1, 3, 5, & 10 MW).  In addition, each respective fuel cell unit will compare its costs and attributes against both solar photo-voltaic (SPV) and Battery Energy Storage (BES) facilities of the aforementioned capacities.  Manufacturer-provided performance data was included for the fuel cell and BES systems, and typical first year PV performance data was included for the PV systems. Utility-defined technologies for the major equipment included the following:

  • Either solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) or molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC), electric generation only, fuel source of natural gas (optional bio-fuel), base loading
  • Monocrystalline PV panels, single axis tracking ground mount Lithium ion (Li-ion) battery storage, four hours capacity

Results

This information will be used by the utility as inputs for resource planning models and for generation business planning.

 

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