Applied Energy, Vol.239, 692-705, 2019
A Techno-economic comparison of micro-cogeneration systems based on polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell for residential applications
This work, developed within the Italian project MICROGEN 30, aims at investigating the benefits of 10 kW(el) Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell based system with an innovative membrane reformer when applied to a residential application. Results are compared to solutions where a steam reformer is coupled with low temperature or high temperature Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell stacks. The three cogenerator systems are integrated in a distributed generation scenario, working as suppliers of electricity and heat to two or more residential users. Micro-cogenerators energy and economic balance is evaluated using an in-house software, based on an heuristic algorithm that explores and defines the optimal system operating strategy versus defined load and tariff profiles. The innovative configuration achieves the highest micro-cogeneration economic saving on an yearly basis. The economic analysis also sets the maximum investment cost of the innovative cogenerator system being economically competitive with respect to centralized power generation and conventional boilers.