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Title: Analysis of Fuel Cell Markets in Japan and the US: Experience Curve Development and Cost Reduction Disaggregation

Abstract

Fuel cells are both a longstanding and emerging technology for stationary and transportation applications, and their future use will likely be critical for the deep decarbonization of global energy systems. As we look into future applications, a key challenge for policy-makers and technology market forecasters who seek to track and/or accelerate their market adoption is the ability to forecast market costs of the fuel cells as technology innovations are incorporated into market products. Specifically, there is a need to estimate technology learning rates, which are rates of cost reduction versus production volume. Unfortunately, no literature exists for forecasting future learning rates for fuel cells. In this paper, we look retrospectively to estimate learning rates for two fuel cell deployment programs: (1) the micro-combined heat and power (CHP) program in Japan, and (2) the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) in California. These two examples have a relatively broad set of historical market data and thus provide an informative and international comparison of distinct fuel cell technologies and government deployment programs. We develop a generalized procedure for disaggregating experience-curve cost-reductions in order to disaggregate the Japanese fuel cell micro-CHP market into its constituent components, and we derive and present a range of learningmore » rates that may explain observed market trends. Finally, we explore the differences in the technology development ecosystem and market conditions that may have contributed to the observed differences in cost reduction and draw policy observations for the market adoption of future fuel cell technologies. The scientific and policy contributions of this paper are the first comparative experience curve analysis of past fuel cell technologies in two distinct markets, and the first quantitative comparison of a detailed cost model of fuel cell systems with actual market data. The resulting approach is applicable to analyzing other fuel cell markets and other energy-related technologies, and highlights the data needed for cost modeling and quantitative assessment of key cost reduction components.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1332541
Report Number(s):
LBNL-1006295
ir:1006295
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY

Citation Formats

Wei, Max, Smith, Sarah J., and Sohn, Michael D. Analysis of Fuel Cell Markets in Japan and the US: Experience Curve Development and Cost Reduction Disaggregation. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1332541.
Wei, Max, Smith, Sarah J., & Sohn, Michael D. Analysis of Fuel Cell Markets in Japan and the US: Experience Curve Development and Cost Reduction Disaggregation. United States. doi:10.2172/1332541.
Wei, Max, Smith, Sarah J., and Sohn, Michael D. 2016. "Analysis of Fuel Cell Markets in Japan and the US: Experience Curve Development and Cost Reduction Disaggregation". United States. doi:10.2172/1332541. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1332541.
@article{osti_1332541,
title = {Analysis of Fuel Cell Markets in Japan and the US: Experience Curve Development and Cost Reduction Disaggregation},
author = {Wei, Max and Smith, Sarah J. and Sohn, Michael D.},
abstractNote = {Fuel cells are both a longstanding and emerging technology for stationary and transportation applications, and their future use will likely be critical for the deep decarbonization of global energy systems. As we look into future applications, a key challenge for policy-makers and technology market forecasters who seek to track and/or accelerate their market adoption is the ability to forecast market costs of the fuel cells as technology innovations are incorporated into market products. Specifically, there is a need to estimate technology learning rates, which are rates of cost reduction versus production volume. Unfortunately, no literature exists for forecasting future learning rates for fuel cells. In this paper, we look retrospectively to estimate learning rates for two fuel cell deployment programs: (1) the micro-combined heat and power (CHP) program in Japan, and (2) the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) in California. These two examples have a relatively broad set of historical market data and thus provide an informative and international comparison of distinct fuel cell technologies and government deployment programs. We develop a generalized procedure for disaggregating experience-curve cost-reductions in order to disaggregate the Japanese fuel cell micro-CHP market into its constituent components, and we derive and present a range of learning rates that may explain observed market trends. Finally, we explore the differences in the technology development ecosystem and market conditions that may have contributed to the observed differences in cost reduction and draw policy observations for the market adoption of future fuel cell technologies. The scientific and policy contributions of this paper are the first comparative experience curve analysis of past fuel cell technologies in two distinct markets, and the first quantitative comparison of a detailed cost model of fuel cell systems with actual market data. The resulting approach is applicable to analyzing other fuel cell markets and other energy-related technologies, and highlights the data needed for cost modeling and quantitative assessment of key cost reduction components.},
doi = {10.2172/1332541},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 7
}

Technical Report:

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  • Technology learning rates can be dynamic quantities as a technology moves from early development to piloting and from low volume manufacturing to high volume manufacturing. This work describes a generalizable technology analysis approach for disaggregating observed technology cost reductions and presents results of this approach for one specific case study (micro-combined heat and power fuel cell systems in Japan). We build upon earlier reports that combine discussion of fuel cell experience curves and qualitative discussion of cost components by providing greater detail on the contributing mechanisms to observed cost reductions, which were not quantified in earlier reports. Greater standardization ismore » added to the analysis approach, which can be applied to other technologies. This paper thus provides a key linkage that has been missing from earlier literature on energy-related technologies by integrating the output of earlier manufacturing cost studies with observed learning rates to quantitatively estimate the different components of cost reduction including economies of scale and cost reductions due to product performance and product design improvements. This work also provides updated fuel cell technology price versus volume trends from the California Self-Generation Incentive Program, including extensive data for solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFC) reported here for the first time. The Japanese micro-CHP market is found to have a learning rate of 18% from 2005 to 2015, while larger SOFC fuel cell systems (200 kW and above) in the California market are found to have a flat (near-zero) learning rate, and these are attributed to a combination of exogenous, market, and policy factors.« less
  • ;Table of Contents: Promoting Fuel Cell Technology Development: Current Status, Future Plans; Policies to Promote Wide Use of Fuel Cells; Fuel Cell Implementation Outlook, Environmental Preparations; Solid Electrolyte Fuel Cell R&D; Developing Technology for Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell Power; Development of On-Site Fuel Cell Systems at Tokyo Gas; Fuel Cell Development at Toshiba; IHI`s Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell Development; Kansai Power`s Fuel Cell R&D.
  • The primary obstacle to the use of ceria as a high-power-density solid-oxide fuel-cell electrolyte has been a low-level electronic short. This develops under reducing (anode) conditions as a result of partial reduction of the CeO{sub 2} lattice. The result is a decrease in: (a) cell voltage, (b) useful external current, (c) efficiency, (d) power density. A dopant concept has been shown to lower the anode PO{sub 2} below which the short becomes detrimental (electrolytic domain boundary) by two orders of magnitude. Two dopants, A and B have been shown to be effective. The optimum dopant A level was shown tomore » be 1-3 metal atom percent. This reduction in the electronic short current is the primary achievement of this program. Analysis of the activation energies for electronic and ionic conduction indicate that the dopant is effective in reducing the short by trapping the electronic charge carriers rather than preventing partial reduction of the ceria. Measurement of the grain boundary and bulk conductivities show the overall ionic conductivity is limited by grain boundary resistance. If lower grain boundary resistance can be achieved by processing changes, another two orders of magnitude improvement in electrolytic domain boundary is possible. An attempt to limit the short by establishing an electronically resistive grain-boundary barrier layer was abandoned. A separate grain-boundary phase was difficult to maintain during the sinter densification step. The dopant approach was selected for further development in Phase II.« less
  • The high operating temperature of zirconia based solid oxide fuel cells has been shown in many studies to have advantages for both space and terrestrial applications. The high heat rejection temperature minimizes radiator size and weight for high atmospheric and space applications. Mobile and stationary terrestrial applications take advantage of a cell temperature high enough to directly reform hydro-carbon fuels, achieving high efficiency and energy density. Government funded solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) efforts are concentrated on the monolithic and tubular cell designs employing zirconia as the oxide ion conduction membrane. Zirconia requires an operating temperature of 1000 C tomore » achieve adequate electrolyte conductivity. All-ceramic cell structures are used in both cases, leading to fragile, failure prone cells, and manufacturing steps which are difficult to scale up and costly. IFC's molten carbonate fuel cell development demonstrates the reliability of ductile sheet metal parts used for gas flow fields, separator plates, and frames in the 650 C temperature range. Ceria doped with gadolinium has ionic conductivity at 700 C comparable to zirconia at 1000 C. At 700 C a variety of stainless steels offer acceptable strength and oxidation resistance for use as cell hardware.« less