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ECN publication
Combined cold heat and power generation; Techno-economic assessment of integrated fuel cell and sorption heat pump systems
Published by: Publication date:
ECN 1-11-2002
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-C--02-074 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
46 Download PDF  

This report contains the results of a feasibility study into the possibilityof combining a fuel processor/fuel cell (FP/FC) system with an adsorption-cooling device to convert the waste heat of the former into cold. Such a combination is in general referred to as trigeneration, denoting the simultaneous production of power, heat and cold.
As starting point for this study a trigeneration system was proposed consisting of a PEMFC based CHP unit, equipped with a CPO based fuel processor of Shell (Hydrogen Source), and combined with the SWEAT solid sorption heat pump which is being developed at ECN. In addition, various alternative technologies have been considered as part of a trigeneration unit, both at the heat and power production side (SOFC, gas engine, gas turbine) as well as at the cold production side (silica/H2O and LiBr2-H2O sorption chillers).
The trigeneration systems have been evaluated for surplus value in terms of energy saving compared to a reference situation consisting of cogeneration and production of cooling with an electric compression heat pump. The evaluation holds for a grid-connected situation, and own exploitation/ private ownership of facilities. It appears that in this situation, there is only potential for energy saving if the ratio of cooling efficiency of the trigeneration unit and the COP value of the reference cooling technology is larger than the difference between the average electrical efficiency of central power production and the electrical efficiency of the trigeneration unit. Most systems considered do not fulfil this criterion. Only trigeneration systems based on a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell with steam pre-reforming of fuel show potential. This appears to be not so much the result of a high cooling efficiency, but rather the result of a relatively high electrical efficiency. The application of trigeneration is illustrated by two case studies, the result of which indicate that combining cogeneration with a sorption cooler besides, or instead of electric compression cooling could lead to significant energy cost savings, and may thus be a way to enhance the viability of cogeneration

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