The fuel cell
capacity required for this application was found
out to be 300 kW. The cost analysis 7 indicated that the
use of fuel cell CHP system with hydrogen supplied by pipelines will only be
competitive with the traditional systems if hydrogen price decreases by more
than 50% or electricity price increases by 200%. On the other hand, in the case of
FC supplied with natural gas, the electricity price increase of 120% would make
the system competitive.

            Fuel cell CHP systems that produce hydrogen
by electrolysis using renewable energy like PV or WTs have the best environmental
performances, but their prices cannot compete with the traditional systems. Although
fuel cell using natural gas produce considerable emissions of CO2
from the reforming process, the overall emissions are much lower than the
conventional systems. In fact, CO2 emissions are lowered by 28% and
the other emissions like NOx, CO, SO2 are lowered by
large magnitudes 7. Therefore, fuel
cell CHP systems using natural gas can be a good option to introduce fuel cell
systems into this sector, and the long-term goal should be to produce H2
by renewable sources instead on natural gas.

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            Another study 6
evaluated the economic, energy and environmental performance of SOFC-based
combined heat cooling and power system. The CHCP system supplied energy to a
small residential cluster of 10 apartments. The system (Figure 5) was also
provided with a backup natural gas boiler
to meet the peak thermal energy demand. The fuel cell CHCP system was compared
with a reference case that uses
electricity from the grid and thermal
energy from the natural gas boiler. Two
control strategies were considered for the CHCP system operation. First,
minimum cost strategy that minimizes the daily cost, and second, a minimum energy strategy that minimizes the
daily energy consumption. Further, four different configurations based on the specifications
of SOFC and refrigerators were considered by the authors.

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