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Title: Technical Analysis of Installed Micro-Combined Heat and Power Fuel-Cell System

Combined heat and power fuel cell systems (CHP-FCSs) provide consistent electrical power and hot water with greater efficiency and lower emissions than alternative sources. These systems can be used either as baseload, grid-connected, or as off-the-grid power sources. This report presents a technical analysis of 5 kWe CHP-FCSs installed in different locations in the U.S. At some sites as many as five 5 kWe system is used to provide up to 25kWe of power. Systems in this power range are considered “micro”-CHP-FCS. To better assess performance of micro-CHP-FCS and understand their benefits, the U.S. Department of Energy worked with ClearEdge Power to install fifteen 5-kWe PBI high temperature PEM fuel cells (CE5 models) in the commercial markets of California and Oregon. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory evaluated these systems in terms of their economics, operations, and technical performance. These units were monitored from September 2011 until June 2013. During this time, about 190,000 hours of data were collected and more than 17 billion data points were analyzed. Beginning in July 2013, ten of these systems were gradually replaced with ungraded systems (M5 models) containing phosphoric acid fuel cell technology. The new units were monitored until June 2014 until they went offlinemore » because ClearEdge was bought by Doosan at the time and the new manufacturer did not continue to support data collection and maintenance of these units. During these two phases, data was collected at once per second and data analysis techniques were applied to understand behavior of these systems. The results of this analysis indicate that systems installed in the second phase of this demonstration performed much better in terms of availability, consistency in generation, and reliability. The average net electrical power output increased from 4.1 to 4.9 kWe, net heat recovery from 4.7 to 5.4 kWth, and system availability improved from 94% to 95%. The average net system electric efficiency, average net heat recovery efficiency, and overall net efficiency of the system increased respectively from 33% to 36%, from 38% to 41%, and from 71% to 76%. The temperature of water sent to sit however reduced by about 16% from 51⁰C to 43 ⁰C. This was a control strategy and the temperature can be controlled depending on building heat demands. More importantly, the number of shutdowns and maintenance events required to keep the systems running at the manufacturer’s rated performance specifications were substantially reduced by about 76% (for 8 to 10 units running over a one-year period). From July 2012 to June 2013, there were eight CE5 units in operation and a total of 134 scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns took place. From July 2013 to June 2014, between two to ten units were in operation and only 32 shutdowns were reported (all unscheduled). In summary, the number of shutdowns reduced from 10 shutdowns per month on average for eight CE5units to an average of 2.7 shutdowns per month for M5 units (between two to ten units).« less
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
stationary fuel cell; combined heat and power; commercial demonstration