New small solid oxide fuel cell reaches record efficiency

May 31, 2012
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed this highly efficient, small-scale solid oxide fuel cell system that features PNNL-developed microchannel technology and two unusual processes, called external steam reforming and fuel recycling. Credit: PNNL

Individual homes and entire neighborhoods could be powered with a new, small-scale solid oxide fuel cell system that achieves up to 57 percent efficiency, significantly higher than the 30 to 50 percent efficiencies previously reported for other solid oxide fuel cell systems of its size, according to a study published in this month's issue of Journal of Power Sources.

The smaller system, developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, uses methane, the primary component of natural gas, as its fuel. The entire system was streamlined to make it more efficient and scalable by using PNNL-developed microchannel technology in combination with processes called external steam reforming and fuel recycling. PNNL's system includes fuel cell stacks developed earlier with the support of DOE's Solid State Alliance.

"Solid oxide fuels cells are a promising technology for providing clean, efficient energy. But, until now, most people have focused on larger systems that produce 1 megawatt of power or more and can replace traditional power plants," said Vincent Sprenkle, a co-author on the paper and chief engineer of PNNL's solid oxide fuel cell development program. "However, this research shows that smaller solid oxide fuel cells that generate between 1 and 100 kilowatts of power are a viable option for highly efficient, localized power generation."

Sprenkle and his co-authors had community-sized power generation in mind when they started working on their , also known as a SOFC. The pilot system they built generates about 2 kW of electricity, or how much power a typical American home consumes. The PNNL team designed its system so it can be scaled up to produce between 100 and 250 kW, which could provide power for about 50 to 100 American homes.

What is an SOFC?

Fuel cells are a lot like batteries in that they use anodes, cathodes and electrolytes to produce electricity. But unlike most batteries, which stop working when they use up their reactive materials, fuel cells can continuously make electricity if they have a constant fuel supply.

SOFCs are one type of fuel cell that operate at higher temperatures - between about 1100 and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit - and can run on a wide variety of fuels, including natural gas, biogas, hydrogen and liquid fuels such as diesel and gasoline that have been reformed and cleaned. Each SOFC is made of ceramic materials, which form three layers: the anode, the cathode and the electrolyte. Air is pumped up against an outer layer, the cathode. Oxygen from the air becomes a negatively charged ion, O2- , where the cathode and the inner electrolyte layer meet. The ion moves through the electrolyte to reach the final layer, the anode. There, the oxygen ion reacts with a fuel. This reaction creates electricity, as well as the byproducts steam and carbon dioxide. That electricity can be used to power homes, neighborhoods, cities and more.

The big advantage to fuel cells is that they're more efficient than traditional power generation. For example, the combustion engines of portable generators only convert about 18 percent of the chemical energy in fuel into electricity. In contrast, some SOFCs can achieve up to 60 percent efficiency. Being more efficient means that SOFCs consume less fuel and create less pollution for the amount of electricity produced than traditional power generation, including coal power plants.

Sprenkle and his PNNL colleagues are interested in smaller systems because of the advantages they have over larger ones. Large systems generate more power than can be consumed in their immediate area, so a lot of their electricity has to be sent to other places through transmission lines. Unfortunately, some power is lost in the process. On the other hand, smaller systems are physically smaller in size, so they can be placed closer to power users. This means the electricity they produce doesn't have to be sent as far. This makes smaller systems ideal for what's called distributed generation, or generating electricity in relatively small amounts for local use such as in individual homes or neighborhoods.

Goal: Small and efficient

Knowing the advantages of smaller SOFC systems, the PNNL team wanted to design a small system that could be both more than 50 percent efficient and easily scaled up for distributed generation. To do this, the team first used a process called external steam reforming. In general, steam reforming mixes steam with the fuel, leading the two to react and create intermediate products. The intermediates, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, then react with oxygen at the fuel cell's anode. Just as described before, this reaction generates electricity, as well as the byproducts steam and carbon dioxide.

Steam reforming has been used with fuel cells before, but the approach requires heat that, when directly exposed to the fuel cell, causes uneven temperatures on the ceramic layers that can potentially weaken and break the fuel cell. So the PNNL team opted for external steam reforming, which completes the initial reactions between steam and the fuel outside of the fuel cell.

The external steam reforming process requires a device called a heat exchanger, where a wall made of a conductive material like metal separates two gases. On one side of the wall is the hot exhaust that is expelled as a byproduct of the reaction inside the fuel cell. On the other side is a cooler gas that is heading toward the fuel cell. Heat moves from the hot gas, through the wall and into the cool incoming gas, warming it to the temperatures needed for the reaction to take place inside the fuel cell.

Efficiency with micro technology

The key to the efficiency of this small SOFC system is the use of a PNNL-developed microchannel technology in the system's multiple heat exchangers. Instead of having just one wall that separates the two gases, PNNL's microchannel heat exchangers have multiple walls created by a series of tiny looping channels that are narrower than a paper clip. This increases the surface area, allowing more heat to be transferred and making the system more efficient. PNNL's microchannel heat exchanger was designed so that very little additional pressure is needed to move the gas through the turns and curves of the looping channels.

The second unique aspect of the system is that it recycles. Specifically, the system uses the exhaust, made up of steam and heat byproducts, coming from the anode to maintain the steam reforming process. This recycling means the system doesn't need an electric device that heats water to create steam. Reusing the steam, which is mixed with fuel, also means the system is able to use up some of the leftover fuel it wasn't able to consume when the fuel first moved through the .

The combination of external steam reforming and steam recycling with the PNNL-developed microchannel heat exchangers made the team's small SOFC system extremely efficient. Together, these characteristics help the system use as little energy as possible and allows more net electricity to be produced in the end. Lab tests showed the system's net efficiency ranged from 48.2 percent at 2.2 kW to a high of 56.6 percent at 1.7 kW. The team calculates they could raise the system's efficiency to 60 percent with a few more adjustments.

The PNNL team would like to see their research translated into an SOFC power system that's used by individual homeowners or utilities.

"There still are significant efforts required to reduce the overall cost to a point where it is economical for distributed generation applications," Sprenkle explained. "However, this demonstration does provide an excellent blueprint on how to build a system that could increase electricity generation while reducing carbon emissions."

Explore further: Next-generation nuclear reactors that use radioactive waste materials as fuel

More information: M Powell, K Meinhardt, V Sprenkle, L Chick and G McVay, "Demonstration of a highly efficient solid oxide fuel cell power system using adiabatic steam reforming and anode gas recirculation," Journal of Power Sources, Volume 205, 1 May 2012, Pages 377-384, www.sciencedirect.com/science/… ii/S0378775312001991

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deatopmg
4.2 / 5 (5) May 31, 2012
What will be the lifetime of the system? What is projected the overall cost/kw-h, including depreciation, repair, the cost of $$, and replacement? Now multiply that by 2 to get a better estimate of the true cost $/kwh.
Burnerjack
5 / 5 (4) May 31, 2012
Unless I overlooked it, the article did not address the energy consumed in fuel generation. This must be incorporated into the equation to get the overall cyclical efficiency.
CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (2) May 31, 2012
What will be the lifetime of the system?


I presume the fuel cell should last longer than normal because the heat is being absorbed into steam. Therefor less heat would linger in fuel cell and degrade it.
wwqq
1.7 / 5 (6) May 31, 2012
Quite often the problems innovate faster than the solutions. Fuel cells are just another way to consume fossil fuels.
NotParker
2.4 / 5 (17) May 31, 2012
Awesome! With shale gas so cheap, and electricity so expensive because of solar panels and bird killing wind mills, people will be able to totally bypass the electrical utilities.

"Fuel cells are just another way to consume fossil fuels."

Yes!
Eikka
4.3 / 5 (6) May 31, 2012
Quite often the problems innovate faster than the solutions. Fuel cells are just another way to consume fossil fuels.


Put this thing into cars, and you more than halve the fuel consumption. Then you add a small cheap battery that is recharged from the grid, and is capable of substituting 80% of the energy required by everyday driving, and you get a car that uses up less than one tenth the fuel of a regular car without compromizing its utility.

Once you get the fuel consumption to 10% it becomes feasible to replace all the fossil fuel needed to drive with biofuels.
Shootist
4.4 / 5 (11) May 31, 2012
Quite often the problems innovate faster than the solutions. Fuel cells are just another way to consume fossil fuels.


Which isn't a problem once you put aside your preconceptions.
tgoldman
5 / 5 (1) May 31, 2012
Note the implications for solar/wind -- instead of a steady backup electricity generator, these smaller, local ones could easily vary their output to provide power in the dark and calm. After conversion to AC, will they still be more efficient than large, central plants?
kaasinees
2.7 / 5 (9) May 31, 2012
He does have a good point though, the population is growing faster than our solutions.
Parsec
4.2 / 5 (5) May 31, 2012
Quite often the problems innovate faster than the solutions. Fuel cells are just another way to consume fossil fuels.

Not necessarily at all. The inputs to such systems are basically hydrogenated carbon in the most general abstract sense. The energy comes from oxidation of the C-H bond, producing water and CO2.

There are lots of non-fossil sources of such fuels. For example, plants convert a sizable amount of the sunlight they receive into compounds with lots of C-H bonds.
NotParker
3.2 / 5 (13) May 31, 2012
There is no cheaper fossil fuel than natural gas in the USA right now.

People will be ecstatic to escape the electrical grid whose prices have jacked way too high by subsidized solar and wind. Trillions have been squandered.

Caliban
3 / 5 (12) May 31, 2012
There is no cheaper fossil fuel than natural gas in the USA right now.

People will be ecstatic to escape the electrical grid whose prices have jacked way too high by subsidized solar and wind. [Trillions have been squandered].


You got a citation to back up that wildly and flagrantly egregious claim[...], NP?

I didn't think so.

NEXT!

DDhawk
5 / 5 (1) May 31, 2012
Seems a viable system for self-sufficient rural households...drawing on methane tapped from their own septic tank &/or compost heap. I sure could have used this while living (offgrid) in backwoods Hawaii , years ago...as opposed to the generator/battery system that most folks used in that area.
Burnerjack
5 / 5 (3) May 31, 2012
@tgoldman: Cost/benefit rules the day. Example: I have been thinking of going with solar to heat my house. Big capital expenditure, etc., in the mean time, immediate need forced me to replace my boiler for a FAR more efficient design. Now my fuel costs are so low I cannot justify the solar component. @42N, it is very expensive to get the coverage required. so the present system would STILL be required. When AE is cost competitive, marketing will not be required as cost/benefit speaks louder than ANY sales blurb. Even Mr. Gore's.
NotParker
2.6 / 5 (13) May 31, 2012
There is no cheaper fossil fuel than natural gas in the USA right now.

People will be ecstatic to escape the electrical grid whose prices have jacked way too high by subsidized solar and wind. [Trillions have been squandered].


You got a citation to back up that wildly and flagrantly egregious claim[...], NP?



In the UK alone, 120 billion pounds in subsidies.

"REF expects the total consumer subsidy paid out by 2030 to amount to a staggering £130 billion."

http://www.telegr...nes.html

Germany:

"In 2012, Siemens estimated the total cost of renewable energy would come to at least 1.4 trillion (US$1.8 trillion) by 2030."

http://en.wikiped..._Germany

Caliban
3.2 / 5 (9) May 31, 2012
NP,

You are perilously close to earning a new nick.
I've not dubbed you with one --so far-- based upon
the fact that you've demonstrated yourself not entirely braindead, and in some instances to be a thoughtful, rational human being.

With the above comment, you lost a few clicks on the credibilitometer. You are perfectly well aware that you were implying "trillions" in subsidies AS THOUGH THEY WERE FACT, when in fact they are --from your own citations above-- ONLY and ENTIRELY PUTATIVE.

By 2030, virtually ANYTHING can and will have happened --if not before the end of the present year. And certainly before more than another year or two have past, the cost of Fossil Fuel power production will have increased to the point of offsetting those subsidies-- perhaps even to the point of parity, though I will grant that possibility to be overly optimistic.

In any case,you have misrepresented the state of affairs as they stand.

This makes you a liar, and worthy of contempt.

Stop it.

packrat
1 / 5 (1) Jun 01, 2012
I might work out OK for local systems but when you get to large power plant size there are other systems more efficient.
My questions about them are how long does one of these high temp systems last and what's total ownership and maintenance cost of them. It won't be much use if the electricity cost too much except for special situations.
RBurr
4 / 5 (2) Jun 01, 2012
Along with unaddressed maintenance, cost and durability issues; no one has mentioned the water problem. From the sound of it this system will require use of a lot of verifiably demineralized distilled water (not what is available at the grocery). I say that since anything else would foul/destroy the system as it seems to be designed in very short order.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Jun 01, 2012
Cost/benefit rules the day.

Not entirely. What rules the day is what you can do with your money. With the cost of fossil fuels uncertain (but certain to rise) you need to hold cash in resrve. When you have a power generator that uses a power source whose price fluctuations will be minimal or non-existent (fuel cells, wind , solar, .. ) you don't need to hold cash in reserve.

So at the end of the day a flat rate, but slightly more expensive, power source is better than a currently cheaper one with (possibly large) price increases in the future.
eachus
5 / 5 (2) Jun 01, 2012
Along with unaddressed maintenance, cost and durability issues; no one has mentioned the water problem.


Uh, you did notice the word "ceramic" above? The SOFC uses a three-layer ceramic sandwich with no moving parts as the fuel cell. Think of it as a ceramic tile. The maintenance required would be to clean the outer surfaces, except that at the operating temperature, organic pollutants in the air would be oxidized externally. A slight loss of efficiency, but nothing serious, assuming an external air filter to catch particulates.

From the sound of it this system will require use of a lot of verifiably demineralized distilled water (not what is available at the grocery).


Again pay attention. The SOFC does not require fresh water, it generates fresh water as a "waste" product. You might need a gallon or three during assembly, but that's about it.

Another feature not discussed here is the opportunity to use the waste heat from the system for home heating.
Origin
1 / 5 (5) Jun 01, 2012
New small solid oxide fuel cell reaches record efficiency
Nothing can beat the cold fusion, which already reaches 1400% efficiency. It illustrates the effectiveness of money invested into this type of research. We, as a tax payers should urge the researchers into most effective spending of public money.
NotParker
1.5 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2012

So at the end of the day a flat rate, but slightly more expensive, power source is better than a currently cheaper one with (possibly large) price increases in the future.


Nonsense. The world hasn't even come close to tapping shale gas deposits.

In the US, cheap shale gas is creating massive investments by companies who know it will be cheap for decades.
NotParker
1 / 5 (5) Jun 01, 2012
Caliban, I came up with two countries and the subsidies will be close to 2 trillion dollars by 2030.

The reason they know this is because the solar and wind collecting those subsidies have already been built.

World-wide by 2030 it will be closer to 10 trillion dollars.

If you have current believable numbers, post them.

Until then, 1 trillion to 2012 is correct. And 10 trillion by 2030.

Of course, it is true that some of those stupid countries will have gone bankrupt ... but the liabilities will still exist.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2012
Until then, 1 trillion to 2012 is correct. And 10 trillion by 2030.


Hmm...germany has a total subsidy program till 2030 to the tune of 50billion dollars for alternative enregy which includes - but is not limited to - wind and solar. And we are notorious for spending a LOT on subsidies for alternative energy.

But to put this into perspective: That 50bn dollars are only about 5-7% of what nuclear and coal got (combined) in the same timespan when they got subsidized. Given that all alternatives already deliver as much as nuclear ever did (as a percentage of electricity produced per year) that makes a lot of financial sense.

So if that 10 trillion figure is correct you are saying there are like 200 countries doing the same (or some which do much more)? Last I checked ther weren't even 200 countries on this planet - let alone ones that spend a lot more than germany does on this stuff.
NotParker
2 / 5 (8) Jun 01, 2012
"Germany's energy policy could cost some 1.4 trillion ($1.8 trillion) by 2030 even before the cost of the nuclear shutdown is taken into account.

Siemens' calculation of the total investment in generation and transmission to do this came to 1.418 trillion ($1.848 trillion)."

http://www.world-...121.html

jalmy
1 / 5 (1) Jun 01, 2012
After conversion to AC, will they still be more efficient than large, central plants?


If you are generating your power locally for housing communities, why on earth would you want to convert it to AC? You wouldn't. You would want to use it as dc. AC was the right choice for it's time, and is still good for 3 phase motor usage in factories, but with todays systems and demand for dc power growing as rapidly as it is, AC powers use outside of industrial settings is comming to an end.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jun 01, 2012
You wouldn't. You would want to use it as dc

Damn right. LED lighting, computers, heating, wall-warts...all would be very happy if the current inyour household would be DV (and you could probably do away with the latter for good)

Siemens' calculation of the total investment in generation and transmission to do this came to 1.418 trillion ($1.848 trillion)."

Did you even read the article you linked to? You know what part solar and wind subsidies are of that calculation? A tiny, tiny part.

(and Siemens is heavily invested in nuclear technologies and big powerplants. They stand to lose a lot by a shift to alternative energies. I'd not be surprised if those calculations were a bit 'pessimistic')
NotParker
2 / 5 (4) Jun 01, 2012
"Germany's exit from nuclear power could cost the country as much as 1.7 trillion euros ($2.15 trillion) by 2030, or two thirds of the country's GDP in 2011, according to Siemens, which built all of Germany's 17 nuclear plants. The estimate of 1.7 trillion euros assumes strong expansion of renewables, with feed-in tariffs as the biggest chunk of costs.

"This will either be paid by energy customers or taxpayers," Siemens board member Michael Suess, in charge of the company's Energy Sector, told Reuters in an interview at the annual Handelsblatt Energiewirtschaft conference.

The estimate of 1.7 trillion euros assumes strong expansion of renewables, with feed-in tariffs as the biggest chunk of costs. The cost would be lower -- at about 1.4 billion euros -- if gas was one of the major energy alternatives, Suess said."

http://thegwpf.or...ros.html

Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2012
But to put this into perspective: That 50bn dollars are only about 5-7% of what nuclear and coal got (combined) in the same timespan when they got subsidized. Given that all alternatives already deliver as much as nuclear ever did (as a percentage of electricity produced per year) that makes a lot of financial sense.


You're again comparing apples to oranges by not comparing how much energy coal and nuclear have made for those subsidies.

It's like saying that a bicycle is cheap transport because it costs only 5-7% the price of a bus, when in reality the bus can transport much more than 20 bicycles can.
Eikka
not rated yet Jun 01, 2012
You wouldn't. You would want to use it as dc

Damn right. LED lighting, computers, heating, wall-warts...all would be very happy if the current inyour household would be DV (and you could probably do away with the latter for good)


You're forgetting that almost all DC applications require different voltages, so the only thing you'll get rid of is the bridge rectifier before the DC-DC transformer in the wall-wart.

What DC voltage level would you choose anyhow? 12 volts? You have to remember that you may need to pass significant amounts of power through, and as little as 120 Watts for a laptop at 12 volts is 10 amps, which means your house wiring needs to be sized accordingly. Nevermind that the laptop may be designed for 16.7 volts, 19.8 volts, or 22 volts, or 24 volts...
IronhorseA
not rated yet Jun 01, 2012
" The pilot system they built generates about 2 kW of electricity, or how much power a typical American home consumes. "

Is this before or after you turn on the blow dryer?
TrinityComplex
not rated yet Jun 01, 2012
It would be nice if they gave dimensions of the smallest model. If they operate at between 1100 and 1800 degrees they will need significant heat buffers if they are anywhere near... pretty much anything else, but that also leaves the question of what the external temperature is. It doesn't much matter how hot it is inside the device if there's enough of the machine around it that you could touch it with bare skin.

One thing to consider about natural gas and oil is that while the wells themselves can look small, the area that is cleared to drill a single well is the size of a football field or larger, so the land impact can be pretty big. Spills happen more often than you think, and are frequently just covered up. I used to work in the oil fields, so I've seen it first hand. Yes, wind and solar can take up a large amount of land, but they don't appear as destructive as new oil leases, from what I've seen.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Jun 01, 2012
BLOOM BOX

System efficiency Natural Gas -> Electricity = 52%
http://en.wikiped...y_Server

"Bloom stated that two hundred servers have been deployed in California for a number of corporations like eBay, Google, Wal-Mart and many more."
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2012
You're again comparing apples to oranges by not comparing how much energy coal and nuclear have made for those subsidies.

The subsidies were to get them up and running. A privately held company (which is what energy companies are) should not require subsidies once they are up and running. And it looks like that solar and wind won't need those subsidies, either. They're already profitable without them. The price drop in production prices hadn't been anticipated so the current subsidies are rather overdesigned (but they are law, and so can't just be ditched. People who invested in solar when it was expensive would be cheated - and without the demand from these people companies would never have started making this stuff in bulk/cheap...so there is a certain logic to honor the promise made with that law.)
antialias_physorg
2.7 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2012
You're forgetting that almost all DC applications require different voltages,

Converting between DC voltages isn't sourcery. Your phone does it to switch form the voltage in your battery to the voltage needed for various parts of your phone (display and CPU usually need different voltages than the battery pack supplies).
The voltage of a single cell in a battery is determined by the chemicals they contain (difference in electrongativity between the components).
You can only do multiples of that by having cells in a row - but that often doesn't fit the requirements of electronic circuits.


What DC voltage level would you choose anyhow?

High. Power loss in lines is resistance times current squared. It's also easier to step down than step up.
With higher voltages you can have lower current. But there has to be a tradeoff between efficiency and safety.

NotParker
2.3 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2012
A privately held company (which is what energy companies are) should not require subsidies once they are up and running. And it looks like that solar and wind won't need those subsidies, either. They're already profitable without them.


"Spanish renewable-energy companies that once got Europes biggest subsidies are deserting the nation after the government shut off aid, pushing project developers and equipment-makers to work abroad or perish."

http://www.bloomb...rgy.html
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 01, 2012
BLOOM BOX

System efficiency Natural Gas -> Electricity = 52%
http://en.wikiped...y_Server

"Bloom stated that two hundred servers have been deployed in California for a number of corporations like eBay, Google, Wal-Mart and many more."


8.25/Watt in subsidies.

http://www.greent...bsidies/
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Jun 02, 2012
BLOOM BOX

8.25/Watt in subsidies.
Yeah and? Can we assume that the startup that manufactures the thing in the article will also receive subsidies? My point was the similarities between the 2, including similar efficiency. Bloom is already on the market. I wonder what is unique about the thing in the article.
NotParker
2 / 5 (4) Jun 02, 2012
BLOOM BOX

8.25/Watt in subsidies.
Yeah and? Can we assume that the startup that manufactures the thing in the article will also receive subsidies? My point was the similarities between the 2, including similar efficiency. Bloom is already on the market. I wonder what is unique about the thing in the article.


Minimum BLOOM is 100kW and several million dollars.

The SOFC in the article would allow very small home units that might actually be affordable for a home owner.

EFOY alreadys sells methanol fuel cells for camping.

http://www.camper...prd=1068
bearly
3 / 5 (2) Jun 02, 2012
I want a small one to power my RV. Please make them available SOON.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Jun 02, 2012
Minimum BLOOM is 100kW and several million dollars.
"The current cost of each hand-made 100kW Bloom Energy Server is $700,000800,000. In the next stage, which will likely be mass production of home-sized units, Sridhar hopes to more than halve the cost of each home sized Bloom server to under $3000.[8] Bloom estimates the size of a home sized server as 1 kilowatt, although cNet News reports critical estimates recommend 5kW capacity for a residence."

-Try again. Try actually reading posted links.
NotParker
2 / 5 (4) Jun 02, 2012
Minimum BLOOM is 100kW and several million dollars.
"The current cost of each hand-made 100kW Bloom Energy Server is $700,000800,000. In the next stage, which will likely be mass production of home-sized units, Sridhar hopes to more than halve the cost of each home sized Bloom server to under $3000.[8] Bloom estimates the size of a home sized server as 1 kilowatt, although cNet News reports critical estimates recommend 5kW capacity for a residence."

-Try again. Try actually reading posted links.


"A source told us recently that Bloom Servers prior to subsides sell for $12.50 a watt: $10 a watt for the box and $2.50 for the warranty."

1.25 million.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jun 02, 2012
Wow your source is a year and a half old.
http://www.greent...bsidies/

-But so what? What is wrong with subsidies? Many energy industries are subsidized.
http://www.eli.or...ergy.cfm

-Correct? Fossil fuels more so than alternatives.
NotParker
2 / 5 (4) Jun 02, 2012
1) I see no reason to suspect the Bloom Box is cheaper.

2) "The vast majority of subsidy dollars to fossil fuels can be attributed to just a handful of tax breaks, such as the Foreign Tax Credit ($15.3 billion) and the Credit for Production of Nonconventional Fuels ($14.1 billion, though this credit has since been phased out)."

Bogus:

"ELI conceded that the credit "is available generally to all U.S. taxpayers, both corporate and individual" (p. 9). Most countries tax only income earned within their borders, while the U.S. taxes the worldwide income earned by its citizens; the foreign tax credit is one mechanism to ensure U.S. individuals and businesses are not paying tax twice on the same dollar of income."

http://taxfoundat...they-are
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2012
ClapTrap

"Example: I have been thinking of going with solar to heat my house. Big capital expenditure, etc." - BurnerJack

Use passive solar for daytime heating and a heat pump for nigh-time supplement if needed.

That will cost you a few thousand bucks.
wwqq
5 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2012
The world hasn't even come close to tapping shale gas deposits.


We are going to leave most fossil fuels in the ground because the externalities of extracting and burning them are unacceptable.

In the US, cheap shale gas is creating massive investments by companies who know it will be cheap for decades.


Shale gas is expensive and dirty. The oil and gas drilling companies are betting on expensive gas; they are betting on lock-in effects and a recovery from the bankster-caused economic crisis.

ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2012
"We are going to leave most fossil fuels in the ground because the externalities of extracting and burning them are unacceptable."

We should. But I highly doubt we are going to.
NotParker
2 / 5 (4) Jun 03, 2012

Shale gas is expensive and dirty.


Clean and cheap. Half the CO2. The fact that environmentalists hate cheap clean low-CO2 energy means they just want to kill the economy and the poor and middle class. Rich people cn afford grotesquely expensive renewalbes. Everyone else cannot.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Jun 03, 2012
1) I see no reason to suspect the Bloom Box is cheaper.
-Nor more expensive. You don't know enough about either. But you DO know that bloom has over 2 yrs real-world application and service experience with over 200 units. And you DO know now that they are much closer to $3000 home units than the people in the article.
Bogus:
Indeed. You tried to make subsidies some sort of issue and then summarily negated it all by yourself. Thanks.
NotParker
2 / 5 (4) Jun 03, 2012
1) I see no reason to suspect the Bloom Box is cheaper.
-Nor more expensive. You don't know enough about either. But you DO know that bloom has over 2 yrs real-world application and service experience with over 200 units. And you DO know now that they are much closer to $3000 home units than the people in the article.
Bogus:
Indeed. You tried to make subsidies some sort of issue and then summarily negated it all by yourself. Thanks.


Almost all of Bloom Box installs require subsidies.

"California-based Bloom Energy was attracted to Delaware in part by a renewable energy subsidy for fuel cells, which is expected to add about $1.35 a month to residential bills, according to reports. "

http://news.cnet....t-coast/

Everybody in the state gets screwed out of their hard earned money so a compnay with 60 billion dollar sitting overseas hiding it from the IRS can get a subsidy.
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2012
"Bloom Energy and its customers received $218.5 million in subsidies in 2010 from Californias SGIP program."

http://www.greent...e-a-pro/

200+ million tacked onto customers power bills in California in 2010 alone.

Just so Bloom Boxes can consume natural gas.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2012
-As well as breathe a little better.

"In 2008, PV provided approximately 65% of these reductions, followed by biogas-fueled facilities which reduced an additional 60,000 tons of CO2 equivalent GHGs.
PG&E was the largest contributor of emissions reductions with 59% of the total.
Overall, the SGIP provided net GHG emission reductions of over 175,000 tons of CO2 equivalent in 2008.
PV provided the greatest net reduction at over 115,000 tons of CO2 equivalent gases.
Biogas-fueled DG facilities provided the next largest GHG reduction at over 60,000 tons of CO2 equivalent."

-So I wonder how much money PV got? Much more than bloom I bet. Naw, you look it up. As I say you've negated your own argument. How much do you think the tech in the article will get, if it proves feasible and competitive? The same? More? After all they would be the underdog-
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2012
AND per your article dated 04-11:

"Bloom's 100-kilowatt solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) sells for about $700,000 BEFORE INCENTIVES and the company will have shipped units to marquee customers such as Walmart, Google and FedEx.  That's a significant amount of revenue for a young company, possibly on the scale to get to an IPO in 2011.  An SEC filing for a proposed IPO would reveal how much the Bloom Box costs to build versus its selling price."

-which makes one wonder where the 'several million' figure of yours came from. Out your butt maybe?
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (4) Jun 03, 2012
There are no cheaper hookers in the downtown core than now.

"There is no cheaper fossil fuel than natural gas" - ParkerTard

From what I am told, cheap often comes with deadly side effects.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2012
-Meanwhile things just keep getting better and better for bloom;

"Going to Delaware Last October Bloom finally received the approval from Delaware regulators for its biggest project yet building a manufacturing center to produce its fuel cells at the former Chrysler plant in Newark, DE. Bloom will also add 30 megawatts of power to the regional power grid by installing about 300 Bloom Boxes at two Delmarva Power substations.
...The construction is expected to begin in 2012...
The Newark plant will be Blooms first facility on the East Coast and has the potential to create up to 1,500 jobs as well as more than triple the current number of Bloom Boxes that are in operation. In other words, this a huge opportunity for Bloom to move on to the next level, achieving better economies of scale, improving its competitiveness..."
Vendicar_Decarian
4 / 5 (4) Jun 03, 2012
So establishing a viable industry that reduces pollution dramatically and improves California's electric infrastructure cost California tax payers 6 bucks a head last year.

"200 million tacked onto customers power bills in California in 2010 alone." - ParkerTard

Clearly, well worth the price.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 03, 2012

"Germany's exit from nuclear power could cost the country as much as 1.7 trillion euros ($2.15 trillion) by 2030" - ParkerTard

An high number that works out to be $1,500 per person per year over the next 18 years.

Now I can purchase a 100 Watt solar panel for $500 retail, or 300 watts of solar per year at the above nuclear retirement cost.

Assuming I get 3 hours of generating capacity per day, I would need 10 years of such purchases to go totally solar. Only 8 years if I went passive solar for hot water.

As usual, ParkerTard's numbers Smell.

Most likely as a result of his mental disease.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 03, 2012
ParkerTard's complaint that this corporation is hiding money from the U.S. tax man is at odds with his earlier claim that the coal and oil industry has the right to do exactly the same thing, and how steps to collect taxes on those moneys is evil socialism.

"Everybody in the state gets screwed out of their hard earned money so a compnay with 60 billion dollar sitting overseas hiding it from the IRS can get a subsidy." - ParekerTard

Apparently ParkerTard has one rule of conduct for the Oil and Gas Industry and another for the renewable industries.

Who pays him to post here?
NotParker
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2012

"Germany's exit from nuclear power could cost the country as much as 1.7 trillion euros ($2.15 trillion) by 2030" - ParkerTard

An high number that works out to be $1,500 per person per year over the next 18 years.


$6,000 per family. VD really, really hates people.

Who pays VD to be here mocking poor people? Greenpeace?

Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 03, 2012
An high number that works out to be $1,500 per person per year over the next 18 years.

Now I can purchase a 100 Watt solar panel for $500 retail, or 300 watts of solar per year at the above nuclear retirement cost.

Assuming I get 3 hours of generating capacity per day, I would need 10 years of such purchases to go totally solar. Only 8 years if I went passive solar for hot water.

As usual, ParkerTard's numbers Smell.

Most likely as a result of his mental disease.
NotParker
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2012

"Germany's exit from nuclear power could cost the country as much as 1.7 trillion euros ($2.15 trillion) by 2030" - ParkerTard

An high number that works out to be $1,500 per person per year over the next 18 years.


6,000$ per family. To replace 17.7% of Germany's electricity supply. Which is already paid for.

"Nuclear power in Germany accounted for 17.7% of national electricity supply in 2011"
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 03, 2012
6,000$ per family. To replace 17.7% of Germany's electricity supply.

At $6,000 per family, over those 18 years of retirement, a total of 72e12 Watt Hours of energy will be consumed. The cost per Watt hour replaced is therefore $1.500*82e6/72e12 = 0.17 cents per kilowatt hour.

ParkerTard is mentally diseased.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2012
6,000$ per family that could all have gone to actually decreasing the CO2 output (substituting fossil fuels), instead of substituting one carbon-free energy source with another more expensive one, while coal power plants stay intact.

http://www.monbio...f-waste/

"By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 6th December 2011:

Its a devastating admission to have to make, especially during the climate talks in Durban. But there would be no point in writing this column if I were not prepared to confront harsh truths. This year the environmental movement to which I belong has done more harm to the planets living systems than climate change deniers have ever achieved.
As a result of shutting down its nuclear programme in response to green demands, Germany will produce an extra 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between now and 2020(1). Thats almost as much as all the European savings resulting from the energy efficiency directive(2)."
ShotmanMaslo
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 04, 2012
After all coal power plants are phased out, instead of contributing to the threat of runaway climate change that would be vastly more damaging than 10 Fukushimas, then paying to substitute carbon-free nuclear power with renewables would maybe be justified. Not a second sooner, because any money that goes to phasing out carbon free nuclear does not go to phasing out fossil power.
Get your priorities straight, "environmentalists"!
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2012
Converting between DC voltages isn't sourcery.


Indeed, but that's not what the question was about.

What DC voltage level would you choose anyhow?

High. Power loss in lines is resistance times current squared.


Right, so now tell me what is the difference between running a house with 120 volts DC, and 120 volts AC in terms of the appliances used?

I'll answer it myself: Any small DC appliance still needs a DC-DC converter, which differs from the modern AC-DC converter by a single component. You gain perhaps 1% in efficiency. Meanwhile, you lose the ability to run simple and cheap shaded pole motors like fans or grid-synchronized clocks, and any appliance that requires a different voltage now has to have a switching mode power supply even if they don't need regulated power, where a simple transformer would do.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2012
Get your priorities straight, "environmentalists"!

False dichotomy. This is being bandied about all over the place and it's nothing but a strawman. Being against nuclear is NOT the same as being pro coal. And just because nuclear is being phased out does not mean we should concentrate all money on that and leave coal alone. As always the world is more complex and anyone who bandies about black and white points of view (as in this false dichotomy) is just not living there but in some lala-land.

Both nuclear and fossil fuels should be (and are being) phased out in the long run. But that is not something that will (or can) happen over night - and the 'environmentalists' know this.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2012
Being against nuclear is NOT the same as being pro coal.


In theory, yes. Practically speaking, no.

Because at the moment it's not a question of solar and wind against nuclear and coal, because they aren't going to replace them anytime soon. You can substitute a small portion of the total energy produced, but that's it for the time being.

The big picture is about coal, nuclear, and gas. Drop any one, and you'll just increase the use of the other two. Like what is going on in Germany right now: drop nuclear, build more coal.

And the problem is, that what you build today, you are stuck with for the next 40-60 years, unless you want to waste even more money and resources by tearing it down before its time. It's that sort of inconsiderate flailing about that many people hate about environmentalists.
ShotmanMaslo
3 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2012
"False dichotomy.Both nuclear and fossil fuels should be (and are being) phased out in the long run."

No. Fossil fuels need to be phased out in the short run, or ASAP, to prevent or mitigate runaway climate change. Its a race against time with fossil fuels, but not with nuclear.
Its irrational to postpone time critical duty that needs to be done ASAP to concentrate on something that can wait.

And as said above, in practice phasing out nuclear not only delays dealing with the CO2 problem, it actually makes it worse, since its being at least partly substituted with fossil fuels, and not renewables.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jun 04, 2012
Like what is going on in Germany right now: drop nuclear, build more coal.

The coal power plants that are being built were already in line for being built way before nuclear was dropped. The two don't have anything to do with one another. Germany is not upping the number of coal powerplants BECAUSE of the nuclear phaseout. If you look at the list then all of the new coal powerplants have been in the planning/building phase since 2006-2009. (and there are already old coal power plants which will go offline in 2012 because they don't conform to environmental standards anymore.)

If you look at the numbers: since 1989 per capita energy useage has dropped by 10 percent. The electricity 'lost' due to shutting down nuclear by 2020 will be completely compensated by alternative sources by then. So the newly built coal powerplants are just replacing old ones. Not perfect, but far from this "they're replacing nuclear with coal"-illusion.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2012
If you look at the list then all of the new coal powerplants have been in the planning/building phase since 2006-2009.


And the phaseout of nuclear power started propeerly in 2000 when the government reached an agreement with the energy sector to shut down all nuclear power before 2020. They made a law about how much energy each nuclear powerplant is allowed to produce before it is forced to shut down for good.

The recent panic attack for Fukushima is completely unrelated to this development. It has been agreed upon for years that the nuclear powerplants will be shut down, and the industry will replace them with coal power.

Not perfect, but far from this "they're replacing nuclear with coal"-illusion.


Think about it this way: if the nuclear power still existed in 2020, you would have nuclear power AND the renewables, and you would use even less coal and other fossil fuels. Instead of phasing out nuclear power, they should have been phasing out the CO2 producers.
djr
not rated yet Jun 04, 2012
"Now I can purchase a 100 Watt solar panel for $500 retail" Why would you pay $5 a watt - when you can get them for around $1 a watt? http://www.wholesalesolar.com/ 50 cents a watt is very probable in the next 5 years. Now run the calculations. One big issue is going to be the balance of system cost (total installed cost for a system). $2 a watt installed will be game changing for sure.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jun 04, 2012
The recent panic attack for Fukushima is completely unrelated to this development. It has been agreed upon for years that the nuclear powerplants will be shut down,

Unfortunately everyone knew that this 'agreement' was a ruse. It was signed during a colation government of the social democrats and the green party. Everyone knew that as soon as the conservatives got back in power (which was a virtual certainty during that 20 years lifespan) that decision would be reversed. the big energy producers did NOTHING to prepare for the switchover full well knowing (and banking on) this.

And whadda you know: Only 2 months before Fukushima happened Merkel and her cronies overturned the law. Champgne corks got popped by CEOs of energy companies. If Fukushima hadn't happened (making them re-overturn it) we'd be stuck with nuclear AND more coal and no alternative energies whatsoever.
ShotmanMaslo
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 04, 2012
"The electricity 'lost' due to shutting down nuclear by 2020 will be completely compensated by alternative sources by then."

Instead of merely compensating for nuclear power, these sources could have been already replacing coal power then.
No matter how you look at it, its ridiculous to assume that phasing out carbon free energy source that produces almost quater of the power consumed wont increase CO2 emissions compared to no phaseout, all other things kept the same.

"If Fukushima hadn't happened (making them re-overturn it) we'd be stuck with nuclear AND more coal and no alternative energies whatsoever."

No, it would be nuclear and less coal. Alternative energies would grow (and replace coal) irregardless of Fukushima.
jalmy
1 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2012
"What DC voltage level would you choose anyhow? 12 volts? You have to remember that you may need to pass significant amounts of power through, and as little as 120 Watts for a laptop at 12 volts is 10 amps, which means your house wiring needs to be sized accordingly. Nevermind that the laptop may be designed for 16.7 volts, 19.8 volts, or 22 volts, or 24 volts..."

Your comment is true but the real benifit to using DC is in future storage and localized generation from wind/solar would also be dc. There are many opportunities to save power if you are locally generating storing and using power as DC.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jun 04, 2012
Instead of merely compensating for nuclear power, these sources could have been already replacing coal power then.

That would have been ideal. But the reality is: if nuclear hadn't fallen out of favor due to Fukushima then nothing would have happened at all. The alternative energy sector would have never gotten off the ground because there would have been no need to go that way. We might have even built more nuclear reactors. We'd be stuck in an endless cycle of dangerous energy sources until one of them blows up.

Now that the alternative energy sector is booming and showing what it can do (and has already been shown to be economically advanageous) replacing nuclear AND coal has become feasible in the mid term.

Yes, both need to be replaced. Yes, people want them to be replaced - but the people only ever get to have a say when they feel strongly on an issue. And currently they, unfortunately, don't feel strongly (enough) on the CO2 issue but strongly enough on the nuclear one.
NotParker
2.4 / 5 (5) Jun 04, 2012

Now that the alternative energy sector is booming and showing what it can do


It can destroy your economy. And produce negligible amounts of energy.

120 billion pounds for .425GW in the UK today.

http://www.gridwa...r.co.uk/

1.29%

Another 10 trillion should give you even more unreliable energy.

Germany is planning to burn more coal.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2012
It can destroy your economy. And produce negligible amounts of energy.

It already produces 20% of our electricity and 10% of all heat (which is not 'negligible'. It's actually pretty good considering how short a timespan it took to get there).

Manufacturers are having a hard time competing with cheap asian imports in photovoltaics. But wind power manufacturers are doing good business (since transportation costs for wind turbines are significant and therefore local products are competitive).
Especially the installation sector has been booming.

We need to build more energy infrastructure and that, too, will create more jobs. Projections go up to a million additional jobs in the alternative energy sector. being one of the first to adopt and develop this tech also means that people will be looking for experties right here when they want to start building this stuf (e.g. DESERTEC)

Things are looking nothing but up in the alternative energy business.
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 04, 2012
It can destroy your economy. And produce negligible amounts of energy.

It already produces 20% of our electricity


Is there real time monitoring?

http://www.rwe.co...-online/

Wind and Solar only does 10%. Biomass/hydro and burning garbage does 10%.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2012
RWE is only one of the energy companies in germany. For a complete listing see here:
http://de.wikiped...tschland

Endenergieverbrauch is "final energy useage"
Stromerzeugung is "electrical energy produced"
Wärmebereitstellung is "heat produced"
Kraftstiffverbrauch is "fuel (for mobility)"

You can see that the numbers have been going up quite significantly in the past 3-4 years. If that trend continues (and there is no reason why it shouldn't) things may look very good by the time the last nuclear powerplant goes offline in 2020. Then we can start shutting down coal powerplants.
Vendicar_Decarian
2 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2012
What a pathetic coward.

"It can destroy your economy" - ParkerTard
NotParker
2 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2012
RWE is only one of the energy companies in germany. For a complete listing see here:
http://de.wikiped...tschland

Endenergieverbrauch is "final energy useage"
Stromerzeugung is "electrical energy produced"
Wärmebereitstellung is "heat produced"
Kraftstiffverbrauch is "fuel (for mobility)"

You can see that the numbers have been going up quite significantly in the past 3-4 years. If that trend continues (and there is no reason why it shouldn't) things may look very good by the time the last nuclear powerplant goes offline in 2020. Then we can start shutting down coal powerplants.


Germany is burning more coal and Merkel is putting off the nuclear shutdown.

But is there a real time energy usage site like the one for the UK or California?
NotParker
2 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2012

You can see that the numbers have been going up quite significantly in the past 3-4 years. If that trend continues (and there is no reason why it shouldn't) things may look very good by the time the last nuclear powerplant goes offline in 2020.


I wish you the best of luck surviving the coming disaster.

Average generation doesn't help you when the wind fails to blow.

http://oilprice.c...E424.png

_ilbud
not rated yet Jun 04, 2012
"Germany's energy policy could cost some 1.4 trillion ($1.8 trillion) by 2030 even before the cost of the nuclear shutdown is taken into account.

Siemens' calculation of the total investment in generation and transmission to do this came to 1.418 trillion ($1.848 trillion)."

http://www.world-...121.html


What a moronic lie, you must be a teabagger to be so gullible.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2012
Such a crisis. How could anyone live without electricity for a few hours?

"Average generation doesn't help you when the wind fails to blow." - ParkerTard

It is God's way of telling you that you need a holiday.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 04, 2012
ParkerTard a liar?

"What a moronic lie, you must be a teabagger to be so gullible." - ilbud

With every breath he takes.....

I have never encountered a Conservative who wasn't a congenital and perpetual liar.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jun 06, 2012
I wish you the best of luck surviving the coming disaster.

Average generation doesn't help you when the wind fails to blow.

That's why we need to
a) invest in storage solutions.
b) be part of a European grid (which we already are). The wind always blows somewhere. The sun always shines somewhere.
c) divesify (e.g. with the upcoming DESERTEC initiative of which the first powerplant will be constructed starting day after tomorrow.). The sun almost never fails to shine accross northern Africa - and NEVER accross the entire stretch.
b) have a limited backup capacity for the odd freak day of 24-hour global windstill/solar eclypse days.

We also have no need of further fossil powerplants. The batch being under construction is 12GW. 6.6GW of old coal powerplants will go offline in that timeframe. Energy usage has ben dropping. No further fossil powerplants are planned.