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Title: Fuel Cell Backup Power Unit Configuration and Electricity Market Participation: A Feasibility Study

Abstract

This National Renewable Energy Laboratory industry-inspired Laboratory Directed Research and Development project evaluates the feasibility and economics of using fuel cell backup power systems in cell towers to provide grid services (e.g., balancing, ancillary services, demand response). The work is intended to evaluate the integration of thousands of under-utilized, clean, efficient, and reliable fuel cell systems that are already installed in cell towers for potential grid and ancillary services.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
OSTI Identifier:
1347197
Report Number(s):
NREL/TP-5400-67408
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; 33 ADVANCED PROPULSION SYSTEMS; fuel cell; backup power; grid service; ancillary service; telecommunication; LDRD

Citation Formats

Ma, Zhiwen, Eichman, Josh, and Kurtz, Jennifer. Fuel Cell Backup Power Unit Configuration and Electricity Market Participation: A Feasibility Study. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1347197.
Ma, Zhiwen, Eichman, Josh, & Kurtz, Jennifer. Fuel Cell Backup Power Unit Configuration and Electricity Market Participation: A Feasibility Study. United States. doi:10.2172/1347197.
Ma, Zhiwen, Eichman, Josh, and Kurtz, Jennifer. Mon . "Fuel Cell Backup Power Unit Configuration and Electricity Market Participation: A Feasibility Study". United States. doi:10.2172/1347197. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1347197.
@article{osti_1347197,
title = {Fuel Cell Backup Power Unit Configuration and Electricity Market Participation: A Feasibility Study},
author = {Ma, Zhiwen and Eichman, Josh and Kurtz, Jennifer},
abstractNote = {This National Renewable Energy Laboratory industry-inspired Laboratory Directed Research and Development project evaluates the feasibility and economics of using fuel cell backup power systems in cell towers to provide grid services (e.g., balancing, ancillary services, demand response). The work is intended to evaluate the integration of thousands of under-utilized, clean, efficient, and reliable fuel cell systems that are already installed in cell towers for potential grid and ancillary services.},
doi = {10.2172/1347197},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Mar 13 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Mon Mar 13 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Technical Report:

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  • In 2008, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), under contract to the US Department of Energy (DOE), conducted a manufacturing readiness assessment (MRA) of fuel cell systems and fuel cell stacks for back-up power and material handling applications (MHE). To facilitate the MRA, manufacturing readiness levels (MRL) were defined that were based on the Technology Readiness Levels previously established by the US Department of Energy (DOE). NREL assessed the extensive existing hierarchy of MRLs developed by Department of Defense (DoD) and other Federal entities, and developed a MRL scale adapted to the needs of the Fuel Cell Technologies Program (FCTP)more » and to the status of the fuel cell industry. The MRL ranking of a fuel cell manufacturing facility increases as the manufacturing capability transitions from laboratory prototype development through Low Rate Initial Production to Full Rate Production. DOE can use MRLs to address the economic and institutional risks associated with a ramp-up in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell production. In 2010, NREL updated this assessment, including additional manufacturers, an assessment of market developments since the original report, and a comparison of MRLs between 2008 and 2010.« less
  • This NREL Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Highlight describes a time-lapse geographical visualization map of early market use of fuel cells for telecommunications backup power. The map synthesizes data being analyzed by NREL's Technology Validation team for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Program with DOE's publicly available annual summaries of electric disturbance events.
  • Since 2001, Plug Power has installed more than 800 stationary fuel cell systems worldwide. Plug Power’s prime power systems have produced approximately 6.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity and have accumulated more than 2.5 million operating hours. Intermittent, or backup, power products have been deployed with telecommunications carriers and government and utility customers in North and South America, Europe, the United Kingdom, Japan and South Africa. Some of the largest material handling operations in North America are currently using the company’s motive power units in fuel cell-powered forklifts for their warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities. The low-temperature GenSys fuelmore » cell system provides remote, off-grid and primary power where grid power is unreliable or nonexistent. Built reliable and designed rugged, low- temperature GenSys delivers continuous or backup power through even the most extreme conditions. Coupled with high-efficiency ratings, low-temperature GenSys reduces operating costs making it an economical solution for prime power requirements. Currently, field trials at telecommunication and industrial sites across the globe are proving the advantages of fuel cells—lower maintenance, fuel costs and emissions, as well as longer life—compared with traditional internal combustion engines.« less
  • Working in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and industry project partners, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) acts as the central data repository for the data collected from real-world operation of fuel cell backup power systems. With American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) co-funding awarded through DOE's Fuel Cell Technologies Office, more than 1,300 fuel cell units were deployed over a three-plus-year period in stationary, material handling equipment, auxiliary power, and backup power applications. This surpassed a Fuel Cell Technologies Office ARRA objective to spur commercialization of an early market technology by installing 1,000 fuelmore » cell units across several different applications, including backup power. By December 2013, 852 backup power units out of 1,330 fuel cell units deployed were providing backup service, mainly for telecommunications towers. For 136 of the fuel cell backup units, project participants provided detailed operational data to the National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center for analysis by NREL's technology validation team. NREL analyzed operational data collected from these government co-funded demonstration projects to characterize key fuel cell backup power performance metrics, including reliability and operation trends, and to highlight the business case for using fuel cells in these early market applications. NREL's analyses include these critical metrics, along with deployment, U.S. grid outage statistics, and infrastructure operation.« less