Types of Fuel Cells
There are four primary fuel cell technologies, including carbonate, solid oxide, phosphoric acid and polymer membrane (PEM). Each type is well-suited for specific applications including large or small scale applications and stationary or mobile applications, but there is not one fuel cell technology that is well suited for all the possible applications.
The commercial product line of FuelCell Energy utilizes carbonate technology and is well suited for megawatt-class applications. We are actively researching solid oxide fuel cell technology for smaller sub-megawatt applications as well as select mobile applications such as unmanned military drones.
|MW Class||Sub-MW Class||Micro CHP||Mobile|
|Technology||Carbonate (MCFC)||Phosphoric Acid (PAFC)||Solid Oxide (SOFC)||PEM / SOFC||Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM)|
|System size range||300kW – 2.8MW||400kW||up to 200 kW||< 10 kW||up to 100 kW|
|Typical Application||Utilities, large universities, industrial – baseload||Commercial buildings – baseload||Commercial buildings – baseload||Residential and small commercial||Transportation|
|Fuel||Natural gas, Biogas, others||Natural gas||Natural gas||Natural gas||Hydrogen|
|Advantages||High efficiency, scalable, fuel flexible & CHP||CHP||High efficiency||Load following & CHP||Load following & low temperature|
|Electrical efficiency||43%-47% (higher w/ turbine or organic rankine cycle)||40% – 42%||50% – 60%||25% – 35%||25% – 35%|
|Combined Heat & Power (CHP)||Steam, hot water, chilling & bottoming cycles||Hot water, chilling||Depends on technology used||Suitable for facility heating||No, which is an advantage for transportation|