Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

It is currently Aug 17, 2018 12:47 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 78 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Jan 18, 2014 8:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5048
What is the real cost of hydrogen fuel cell systems?

A simple question whose answer is cluttered by massively inconsistent reports and actual projects.

The hydrogen.energy.gov website has a cost of around $600/kWe for 50k systems a year of 100 kWe/system.

http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/pro ... s_2012.pdf

At that price, a fuel cell car of 100 kWe would cost some 60000 dollars in fuel cell system alone, which is way too expensive.

The recent 2012 market report has a lot of inconsistent cost data in it.

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenand ... report.pdf

"Plug Power announced that the production costs for its fuel cells (ranging from 1.8 kW-10 kW) fell from $18,000 in 2008 to between $10,000 and $11,000 in 2012"

So over $1100/kWe for Plug Power.

FuelCell Energy, the current market leader, and a big company with over 120 million $ in revenues, is quoted as $2500/kWe on their current production cost.

A large order from FuelCell Energy, "...receiving a $181 million order for 121.8 MW of fuel cells to be manufactured in Torrington, Connecticut",

That's $1500/kWe on a 121800 kWe order, well beyond the equivalent of 1000 x 100 kWe systems level.

Another project, "Fuel cell operates using biomethane generated from regional residual biomass. Part of a multi-phase, 50 MW, $500 million agreement." from ClearEdge Power Projects. $10000/kWe for the 10000x 5 kWe systems level. The hydrogen.gov reference gives $2300/kWe for such systems at such production level for SOFC CHP.

Yet the same report dares to mention the US DOE estimates: $47/kWe @ 500,000 systems/year of 100 kWe, and they have been talking of low costs for ten years at least. A lot of hydrogen advocates quote the US DOE on this. Their estimates for 10,000 systems a year is $85/kWe. That's completely non-plausible by real projects and orders and industry reported costs. The hydrogen.gov puts this level of production at a fuel cell systems cost of over $500/kWe. So one government agency says it costs $85/kWe, the other says $500/kWe for identical size and production rate.

It appears that the US DOE is living in a world called Microsoft Office Excel Spreadsheet, where a hydrogen fuel cell system costs almost nothing. For the rest of us who don't live in that spreadsheet, fuel cell systems are wildly unaffordable. Even the much less optimistic hydrogen.gov estimate is off by a large factor.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Jan 19, 2014 5:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Apr 19, 2008 1:06 am
Posts: 2235
Some people claim to be trying seriously
http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampent ... uel-cells/
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/51 ... generator/
Good luck to them.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Jan 19, 2014 7:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5048
The claims from Redox Power are indeed extreme, but at least they've got a good argument (10x power density should slash the cost obviously).

But of concern here is the extrapolation and cost estimating from the DOE. This reference was given previously,

https://www.sainc.com/service/SA%202012 ... ystems.pdf

It gives $ 486/kWe for 100 kWe LT PEMFC systems at the 10,000 units/year level. The same unit size and production estimate from the US DOE is $85/kWe.

In reality what we are seeing from large PEMFC orders in 2012-13 is more like $1000-2000 kWe.

So the govt estimates are either wildy optimistic, or fuel cell companies are the most profitable businesses in the world with hundreds of % gross margin.

Can you guess which one it is?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Jan 19, 2014 9:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5048
I found a fuel cell car on sale in my country, the Hyundai ix35, but only on lease, for about $2700/month (2000 euros/month).

That's ridiculously expensive, about 4x as much as a comparable gasoline vehicle (SUV) from Nissan (Juke).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Jan 19, 2014 11:46 am 
Offline

Joined: Aug 29, 2008 4:55 pm
Posts: 495
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
I do not trust the numbers posted on the DOE web site anymore.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Jan 21, 2014 11:16 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5048
Another industry report:

http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/media/1889 ... w_2013.pdf

750 Watt electrical micro cogeneration system for $20,000 dollars, over $26500/kWe.

Interestingly the MWe/year fuel cells for transport is SHRINKING. Stationary applications are growing rapidly.

That confirms HFCV as uncompetitive, and growth opportunities being all in the stationary market. It's not hard to see why; $5000/kWe fuel cell for stationary energy generation is acceptable for many markets, whereas even $500/kWe for fuel cell cars is cost prohibitive.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Jan 21, 2014 11:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5048
Another one here:

http://www.navigantresearch.com/researc ... eport-2013

$1 billion for 124 MWe in 2012, total fuel cell market. That's >$8000/kWe on average.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Feb 07, 2014 4:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jan 29, 2014 4:05 am
Posts: 269
Location: Vitoria-ES-Brazil
Are platinum free fuel cells in full mass production yet ?
The cost of platinum had a double whammy effect on fuel cell cost: It made fuel cells to expensive too begin with, preventing them from reaching mass production levels, further compounding the problem.
I understand the raw platinum costs were over half of fuel cells cost, and they figured out ways that either replaced that completely or kept less than 10% of the original qty. And that happened in a laboratory level just a few years ago.

Toyota announced an FCV version of the Prius for 2015 (in the last Detroit car show), cheaper than a similar EV. Rumor is US$ 50k and up.

The conundrum is an EV you can charge at home, and there is already a significant number of charging stations (between RV parks, roadside charging stations, many hotels will make a 220V outlet available for charging your car if you request ahead of time).

But FCVs need a brand new hydrogen network. That's why I believe they will take another 5 years to catch outside of regions that already made massive hydrogen investments. But in 5 years, pure EVs will be cheaper than FCVs, will have 400 mile range on the high end, and cheap ones about 10 grand over the price of a Prius with 160 mile range (as long as you drive a lot, you can save twice that in gas to electrons savings, no spark plugs to change, less than 10% fluid changes required, EVs are well documented for having very little maintenance costs, Tesla states except for the battery pack, their cars will last 15 years).

But FCVs are an interesting match for LFTR, producing hydrogen from methane is bad for the environment and electrolysis is a huge waste electricity, making with cheap process heat from LFTR, that's a sweet deal.

Bottom line is big oil prefers FCVs (with hydrogen made from natural gas) over EVs big time, and they have a significant nudging power (note to self, avoid conspiracy theories here) over traditional auto makers. So FCVs will come to fruition, now that Tesla have shown practical high end EVs are viable, every year they wait, Tesla grows another 50% (2013 to 2014 is projected 80% growth). Tesla is on track to sell more luxury vehicles than any other luxury brand (across all segments) by 2017, with just two models, the model S sedan and model X crossover.

_________________
Looking for companies working to change the world.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Feb 07, 2014 5:01 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5048
Where did you find the platinum cost information?

What I've found is more like 2-4 grams platinum/kWe in older fuel cells, with the latest under 0.5 grams/kWe.

This translates into only $100-200/kWe or so in the past, under $25/kWe today.

Clearly the raw platinum cost is not a big factor at all and it isn't much better today than in the past. It would explain a $100/kWe difference.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Feb 07, 2014 6:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jan 29, 2014 4:05 am
Posts: 269
Location: Vitoria-ES-Brazil
Cyril R wrote:
Where did you find the platinum cost information?

What I've found is more like 2-4 grams platinum/kWe in older fuel cells, with the latest under 0.5 grams/kWe.

This translates into only $100-200/kWe or so in the past, under $25/kWe today.

Clearly the raw platinum cost is not a big factor at all and it isn't much better today than in the past. It would explain a $100/kWe difference.


There were multiple articles on solar.alltop.com back in 2011.
Google: platinum free fuel cell cost
There were quotes of 80% fuel cell cost reductions.
What I know is Toyota wouldn't be coming out with a mass produced fuel cell car in 2015 unless fuel cell prices are going to drop big. And the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell version is coming out this year.
https://www.hyundaiusa.com/tucsonfuelcell/
US$ 499/month lease. Or US$ 24k for 4 years. Not bad. Again the issue is the fueling stations.
Of course those prices are largely a result of the green vehicle subsidies.
Tesla is making a ton of money selling those to car makers that don't have EV/FCV/hybrids, and those that have a shortfall to balance out, because Tesla only produce green cars.
Since those credits are per vehicle, they result in most car makers only interested in crappy (aka basic) green cars, maximizing the credit value versus the per car production costs. Tesla seems to be the only exception to this rule.

_________________
Looking for companies working to change the world.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Feb 08, 2014 2:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Apr 19, 2008 1:06 am
Posts: 2235
I guess that you may have to wait for China made cells


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Feb 08, 2014 4:23 am 
Offline

Joined: Dec 05, 2008 8:50 am
Posts: 336
Cyril R wrote:
Where did you find the platinum cost information?

What I've found is more like 2-4 grams platinum/kWe in older fuel cells, with the latest under 0.5 grams/kWe.

This translates into only $100-200/kWe or so in the past, under $25/kWe today.

Clearly the raw platinum cost is not a big factor at all and it isn't much better today than in the past. It would explain a $100/kWe difference.


But what about other kind of fuel cells, for example the more pratical methanol fuel cells ? Do they need the same quantity of high purity catalyst and what about their present and foreseable future cost? IMHO a methanol fuel cell would be an excellent device as range extender in serial hybrids like Volt/BMW i3, etc...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Feb 08, 2014 5:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5048
The Hyundai Tucson FCV is a promo campaign, where they lease a limited number of cars below cost and offer free fuel and free maintenance to boot. Which gasoline cars do they lease with free gasoline and free maintenance for $500/month? None. Its promotional, and they are losing boatloads of money with it on every car. They can only do this in limited volumes to try and tease the market.

When I can *buy* (as opposed to lease but not actually own) a fuel cell car for a reasonable price and that car is sold in high volumes (no limited promo campaign) then I will believe the low cost claims. Car companies are not comfortable with the idea of people actually buying (lumpsum) and then owning a HFCV. That is not encouraging.

Other HFCV cars are leasing for 2000-3000 dollars a month, for reference. Even these may not earn the companies any profit.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Feb 08, 2014 5:08 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5048
Alex P wrote:
Cyril R wrote:
Where did you find the platinum cost information?

What I've found is more like 2-4 grams platinum/kWe in older fuel cells, with the latest under 0.5 grams/kWe.

This translates into only $100-200/kWe or so in the past, under $25/kWe today.

Clearly the raw platinum cost is not a big factor at all and it isn't much better today than in the past. It would explain a $100/kWe difference.


But what about other kind of fuel cells, for example the more pratical methanol fuel cells ? Do they need the same quantity of high purity catalyst and what about their present and foreseable future cost? IMHO a methanol fuel cell would be an excellent device as range extender in serial hybrids like Volt/BMW i3, etc...


Its still a hydrogen fuel cell operating at low temperature. That means they use similar catalysts, usually platinum. Quantity of platinum is not that important, as I've shown above, its a minor portion of the cost.

DMFCs require makeup high purity water at the anode. One molecule of water for each molecule of methanol. That's a bit of a problem for cars. You have to refill methanol and demineralized water in about equal volumes, which is annoying in infrastructure terms and it takes up more fuel tank space.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fuel cell costs
PostPosted: Feb 09, 2014 4:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Dec 05, 2008 8:50 am
Posts: 336
Cyril R wrote:

But what about other kind of fuel cells, for example the more pratical methanol fuel cells ?

Its still a hydrogen fuel cell operating at low temperature.


Indeed, but without the need of an impractical and costly fuel to produce, process and store like hydrogen, while on the other hand methanol is a relatively simple and well-known fuel to handle, even if I' m not sure yet if there is a real gain in efficiency switching from an optimized methanol IC engine to a methanol fuel cell :?:

Quote:
That means they use similar catalysts, usually platinum. Quantity of platinum is not that important, as I've shown above, its a minor portion of the cost.


Yes, not sure about your figures about modern fuel cells need, but even a modern gasoline/diesel vehicle needs at least a few grams of material of the palladium group for its catalytic converters, so it' s pratically the same in the worst case

Quote:
DMFCs require makeup high purity water at the anode. One molecule of water for each molecule of methanol. That's a bit of a problem for cars. You have to refill methanol and demineralized water in about equal volumes, which is annoying in infrastructure terms and it takes up more fuel tank space.


As far I know, DMFCs are very inefficient and have only sense where efficiency is not a concern, thus not in transportation


Last edited by Alex P on Feb 09, 2014 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 78 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group