Despite their promising features, adverse economic feasibility still hamper SOFCs wide implementation and this effect is emphasized as long as the system size is reduced. According to previous investigations, the biogas pre-treatment section represents a burden for the economic viability. Aiming at reducing the extent of installation costs in SOFC-based configurations, biogas partial upgrading through CO2 gas-separation membranes is put forth as innovative solution against reforming. This innovative system concept is expected to make SOFCs more cost-effective, yet resulting feeding gas might cause a quicker SOFC performance decay. Besides solving this trade-off, the economic viability results strongly sensitive to subsidiary electricity prices in force according to the regulatory framework. This paper presents a comparative economic assessment regarding biogas-to-electricity conversion via Solid Oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and mature technologies as internal combustion engines (ICEs). Results highlighted that, the innovative SOFC system is far more viable than reforming-based one, exhibiting a reasonable payback time, with an adequate subsidized electricity sale price (4 and 5 years for small/medium and large-size plants respectively when subsidy is 0.28 €/kWh), up to 1%1000h degradation rate. On the other hand, whilst considering a SOFC degradation rate of 0.03%1000h, the reforming-based system appears feasible only on large-size plants, yet recovering the initial capital expenditure in 9 years. Moreover, once the break-even point is reached, the gain in the net revenue produced by the innovative system is amplified in the event of small-size installation. This allows the possibility to undertake the risk of higher degradation rates (up to 2%1000h) without jeopardizing the economic profitability. Therefore, in the present regulatory framework and under current capital costs projections, the innovative SOFC system appears as much profitable as ICE mature technology. Such effort in the design of the fuel pre-treatment unit can lever SOFC broad spreading into the market of small biogas producers.

On the feasibility of on-farm biogas-to-electricity conversion: to what extent is Solid Oxide Fuel Cells durability a threat to break even the initial investment?

A. Baldinelli
;
L. Barelli;G. Bidini
2018-01-01

Abstract

Despite their promising features, adverse economic feasibility still hamper SOFCs wide implementation and this effect is emphasized as long as the system size is reduced. According to previous investigations, the biogas pre-treatment section represents a burden for the economic viability. Aiming at reducing the extent of installation costs in SOFC-based configurations, biogas partial upgrading through CO2 gas-separation membranes is put forth as innovative solution against reforming. This innovative system concept is expected to make SOFCs more cost-effective, yet resulting feeding gas might cause a quicker SOFC performance decay. Besides solving this trade-off, the economic viability results strongly sensitive to subsidiary electricity prices in force according to the regulatory framework. This paper presents a comparative economic assessment regarding biogas-to-electricity conversion via Solid Oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and mature technologies as internal combustion engines (ICEs). Results highlighted that, the innovative SOFC system is far more viable than reforming-based one, exhibiting a reasonable payback time, with an adequate subsidized electricity sale price (4 and 5 years for small/medium and large-size plants respectively when subsidy is 0.28 €/kWh), up to 1%1000h degradation rate. On the other hand, whilst considering a SOFC degradation rate of 0.03%1000h, the reforming-based system appears feasible only on large-size plants, yet recovering the initial capital expenditure in 9 years. Moreover, once the break-even point is reached, the gain in the net revenue produced by the innovative system is amplified in the event of small-size installation. This allows the possibility to undertake the risk of higher degradation rates (up to 2%1000h) without jeopardizing the economic profitability. Therefore, in the present regulatory framework and under current capital costs projections, the innovative SOFC system appears as much profitable as ICE mature technology. Such effort in the design of the fuel pre-treatment unit can lever SOFC broad spreading into the market of small biogas producers.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1428676
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