Evaluation of the Financial and Environmental Feasibility of a Network of Distributed 200 kWe Combined Heat and Power Fuel Cell Systems on the Stanford University Campus

March 15, 2005 - 12:00pm
Bldg. 90
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This study investigates the economics of installing fuel cell generators on Stanford University's campus.  This case study is internationally applicable because it resembles a more general case of U.S. universities, corporate campuses and European towns that 1) own their own electricity and heating distribution networks, 2) incorporate combined heat and power (CHP), but 3) traditionally purchase heat and power from a commercial contractor.  Based on detailed computer simulations of the University's electricity and heating network, the operation of a 200 kWe United Technologies CHP fuel cell system, and the cost structure of the University's supply options, we analyzed the financial and environmental viability of these systems by simulating a number of different scenarios which varied both the quantity and location of the fuel cell systems.  We conclude that 1) the installation of fuel cell systems achieves greater fuel efficiency, lowered emissions, and up to 73 million dollars in savings for the University over 20 years including environmental incentives or up 21 million dollars in savings without any incentives; 2) the University maximizes savings through the installation of a quantity of fuel cell systems (84 systems) greater than that needed to provide all heat to the campus (72 systems) and less than that needed to provide all electricity (123 systems) when the systems are operated in electricity load following mode and! do not export electricity back to the grid; and 3) the most financially attractive buildings in which to install systems are wet and dry laboratories, because their relatively high and constant electricity consumption increases system utilization, and therefore financial savings.  These results are quantified in the presentation and underscore the importance of operating these systems in thermal networks.

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