DOE Technical Targets for Fuel Cell Systems for Stationary (Combined Heat and Power) Applications

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These tables list the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) technical targets for stationary fuel cell applications. These targets have been developed with input from developers of stationary fuel cell power systems.

More information about targets can be found in the Fuel Cells section of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office's Multi-Year Research, Development, and Demonstration Plan.

Technical Targets: 1–25 kWe Residential and Light Commercial Combined Heat and Power and Distributed Generation Fuel Cell Systems Operating on Natural Gasa

Characteristic Units 2015 Status 2020 Targets
Electrical efficiency at rated powerb % (LHV) 34–40 >45c
CHP energy efficiencyd % (LHV) 80–90 90
Equipment coste, 5-kWavg systemf $/kW 2,300–2,800g 1,500
Transient response (10%–90% rated power) min 5 2
Start-up time from 20°C ambient temperature min 10 20
Degradation with cyclingh %/1,000 h <2% 0.3%
Operating lifetimei h 12,000–70,000 60,000
System availabilityj % 97 99

a Pipeline natural gas delivered at typical residential distribution line pressures.
b Regulated AC net/LHV of fuel.
c Higher electrical efficiencies (e.g., 60% using SOFC) are preferred for non-CHP applications.
d Ratio of regulated AC net output energy plus recovered thermal energy to the LHV of the input fuel. For inclusion in CHP energy-efficiency calculation, heat must be available at a temperature sufficiently high to be useful in space and water heating applications. Provision of heat at 80°C or higher is recommended.
e Complete system, including all necessary components to convert natural gas to electricity suitable for grid connection, and heat exchangers and other equipment for heat rejection to conventional water heater, and/or hydronic or forced air heating system. Includes all applicable tax and markup. Based on projection to high-volume production (50,000 units per year).
f kWavg is the average output (AC) electric power delivered over the life of system while unit is running.
g Battelle preliminary 2015 cost assessment of stationary CHP systems, range represents different technologies (SOFC vs PEMFC) at manufacturing volumes of 50,000 units per year.
h Durability testing should include effects of transient operation, startup, and shutdown.
i Time until >20% net power degradation.
j Percentage of time the system is available for operation under realistic operating conditions and load profile. Unavailable time includes time for scheduled maintenance.

Technical Targetsa: 100 kW–3 MW Combined Heat and Power and Distributed Generation Fuel Cell Systems Operating on Natural Gasb

Characteristic Units 2015 Statusc 2020 Targets
Electrical efficiency at rated powerd % (LHV) 42–47 >50e
CHP energy efficiencyf % (LHV) 70–90 90
Equipment cost, natural gas $/kW 1,200g–4,500h 1,000i
Installed cost, natural gas $/kW 2,400g–5,500h 1,500i
Equipment cost, biogas $/kW 3,200–6,500j 1,400i
Installed cost, biogas $/kW 4,900–8,000j 2,100i
Number of planned/forced outages over lifetime 50 40
Operating lifetimek h 40,000–80,000 80,000
System availabilityl % 95 99

a Includes fuel processor, stack, and ancillaries.
b Pipeline natural gas delivered at typical residential distribution line pressures.
c Status varies by technology.
d Ratio of regulated AC net output energy to the lower heating value (LHV) of the input fuel.
e Higher electrical efficiencies (e.g., 60% using SOFC) are preferred for non-CHP applications.
f Ratio of regulated AC net output energy plus recovered thermal energy to the LHV of the input fuel. For inclusion in CHP energy-efficiency calculation, heat must be available at a temperature sufficiently high to be useful in space and water heating applications. Provision of heat at 80°C or higher is recommended.
g M. Wei, 100 kW LTPEMFC, projection at volume of 1,000 systems/year.
h DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Record 11014, "Medium-scale CHP Fuel Cell System Targets,"
i Includes projected cost advantage of high-volume production (totaling 100 MW per year).
j Assumed $2,500/kW higher cost to operate on biogas than on hydrogen (DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Record 11014, "Medium-scale CHP Fuel Cell System Targets").
k Time until >10% net power degradation.
l Percentage of time the system is available for operation under realistic operating conditions and load profile. Unavailable time includes time for scheduled maintenance.