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Economic Viability of a Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell Working With Biogas

[+] Author Affiliations
Albert Castell, Marc Medrano, Luisa F. Cabeza

University of Lleida, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain

Pere Margalef, Scott G. Samuelsen

University of California - Irvine, Irvine, CA

Paper No. FuelCell2008-65259, pp. 629-637; 9 pages
  • ASME 2008 6th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2008 6th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, June 16–18, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4318-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3822-6
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Catalonia (Spain) has a significant potential of biogas production from agricultural activities and municipal waste. In addition, there are plenty of industrial cogeneration plants, but most of them use conventional fuels such as natural gas, and conventional energy conversion devices, such as internal combustion engines. Molten carbonate fuel cells are ultra-clean and highly efficient power generator devices capable of converting biogas into electricity and heat. Located in Lleida (Catalonia), Nufri is a fruit processing company with a long tradition on biogas production and cogeneration, with an installed capacity bigger than 4.5 MW. This study analyzes the economic viability of a fuel cell operating on biogas in Spain, on a real case basis (Nufri). Different fuel cell capacities are analyzed (from 300 kW to 1200 kW). A parametric study of different fuel cell prices ($/kW installed) is performed. Additional biogas cleanup requirements are taken into account. The results are based on the Spanish legislation, which establishes a special legal framework that grants favorable, technology-dependent feed-in premiums for renewable energy and cogeneration. Results show that the payback period ranges from 5 to 8 years depending on the fuel cell capacity and installation price.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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