Fuel Cell CHP systems
The very best, most efficient route to creating localised heat and power is to use fuel cell based systems (FC CHP). The fact that they cut out mechanical steps to create electricity directly means they beat any combustion based systems in terms of carbon reduction through efficiency benefits (between 45 to 55% electrical efficiency depending on which technology and which fuel is used). In addition the CHP technology becomes electricity led rather than heat led, so that as buildings’ needs for heat is reduced (in the future), they can be more flexible, and more easily optimised for the specific energy needs of the site. As the fuel cell system is scaled to meet localised needs as accurately as possible they will also, like all distributed generation technology eliminate losses from transmission (nationally equally to as much as 20-30%). Fuel Cell technologies that could meet a first step on the road to reducing carbon through efficient use of the existing gas infrastructure are available today. Additional carbon reduction is provided if the fuel itself has a lower carbon foot print, like bio-methane, biomass, low carbon hydrogen; giving a further step down in CO2 emissions in the future.
The issue is that although technically viable, and the best carbon reduction technology for distributed CHP; the commercial investment case for FC CHPs needs to be viewed from a total cost of ownership basis and sometimes with extended investment payback targets (6 years rather than less than 5 years). The savings delivered when viewed from a TCO perspective come from reduced maintenance costs, cheaper energy costs, and the value of benefits such as reduced carbon, low noise pollution and zero local exhaust emissions.
Fuel Cell CHP systems really are clean and affordable, future proofed options for commercial & industrial scale CHP. Find out more about how ACAL Energy's technology can reduce payback targets for fuel cell CHP systems........