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PEM fuel cell utility power plant development

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3 Author(s)
Huff, J.R. ; Ballard Power Corp., Albuquerque, NM, USA ; Watkins, D.S. ; Cohen, R.

Summary form only given as follows. Development of fuel cell power plants for utility applications has been the major thrust of this technology over the years. Phosphoric acid fuel cell power plants have been the first to be placed in field demonstrations and to be offered as commercial products. Molten carbonate and solid oxide fuel cell power plants have been under development and are approaching the field demonstration phase. Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, until now, have not been considered for these utility applications. The main objection was that this technology was developed for aerospace use and was considered to be too costly for utilities. In addition, PEM fuel cells do not provide high grade heat that could be used for cogeneration. However, in the early 1980s, PEM fuel cell technology was selected as the primary fuel cell candidate for transportation applications. Efforts under transportation programs were directed toward cost reduction and improved performance. Advances achieved in these programs prompted Ballard Power Systems to reevaluate the application of PEM fuel cells for utility power plants. This evaluation indicated that PEM power plants could be competitive with phosphoric acid systems in multikilowatt power plants. The PEM power plants would also be significantly smaller and lighter. (Recent reports on phosphoric acid power plant test and evaluation in Europe and Japan have stated that a smaller and lighter power plant in the multikilowatt range is highly desirable and is a development goal.) Therefore, in 1991, Ballard began the first phase of a program to develop a natural gas fuelled PEM fuel cell stationary system and its constituent components. This paper will discuss the goals and status of this program.<>

Published in:

Battery Conference on Applications and Advances, 1994., Proceedings of the Ninth Annual

Date of Conference:

11-13 Jan. 1994

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