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Fuel cell systems for combined heat and power (CHP) in buildings yield economic benefits, better utilization of energy resources, and reduced environmental impact. Fuel cell CHP systems combine a fuel cell with fuel processing, power conditioning, air supply, thermal management, and water management systems. Fuel cell types include proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) for small, low-temperature applications; phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC) that have been applied in hundreds of buildings; and high-temperature fuel cells, such as the molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) and the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that can achieve better integration with the fuel processor. Fuel cell CHP systems are characterized by electrical conversion efficiencies exceeding 45%, CHP efficiencies as high as 80%, good part-load performance, and low emissions. Cost of electricity calculations show fuel cell CHP systems can be competitive in residential and commercial applications if the initial cost can be reduced to $1,500/kWe, which is within the range of current cost projections.

Units: Dual


Citation: Symposium Papers, Atlantic City, 2002