Feasibility of utilizing hydrogen fuel cell systems ...

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Title Feasibility of utilizing hydrogen fuel cell systems in hybrid energy systems in stand-alone off-grid remote northern communities of Canada
Author(s) Garth Simmons
Date 2011
Institution University of Prince Edward Island
Supervisor(s) Gerry Mahar
Degree earned Master of Business Administration
Place published Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Abstract Hydrogen production represents one of the most promising solutions for solving the intermittency in electricity generation that is produced by renewable resources, such as wind. Recent studies have suggested that a potential solution for the storage of excess energy generated by a hybrid energy system is to use a hydrogen fuel cell system operating in parallel with wind turbines (Cotrell and Pratt, 2002; Khan and Iqbal, 2004). This study examined whether a small-scale hybrid system working in parallel with a fuel cell system had reached a commercially viable stage. More specifically, the study investigated under what conditions (wind speed, fuel cell system capital cost, and diesel price) it would be economically feasible to use a wind-hydrogen fuel cell system to replace wind-diesel-battery generated electricity for off-grid applications in remote northern regions of Canada. HOMER (computer software simulation tool) was used to conduct the aforementioned sensitivity analysis as well as for sizing and optimization. The average monthly wind speeds for Iqaluit were used to represent the wind regime potential of a remote northern community. A projected electrical load of 630 kilowatt hours per day with a corresponding peak load of 143 kilowatts was chosen to represent the electrical power requirements of 30 residents for an off-grid small residential development in a remote northern community of Canada. This load requirement was calculated by scaling up, by a factor of 30, the author’s own monthly household electrical consumption of 21kWH with a peak demand of 4.76 kilowatts. The analysis revealed that a wind-diesel-battery system is presently the most economically viable solution. However, with a reduction in fuel cell systems (electrolyzer, fuel cells, and hydrogen storage tanks as defined in the Glossary) to approximately 50% of their current costs these systems begin to become cost effective when coupled with a wind-diesel-battery system. It is not until the fuel cell system costs reduce to 20% and wind speeds exceed 7.7 m/s that it is economically justifiable to eliminate the diesel-battery components entirely. Anticipated advances in fuel cell system research and development are needed to enable the fuel cell system technology to become an economically viable option.
Use/Reproduction In presenting this signature project report in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Prince Edward Island, the author has agreed that the Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island, may make this signature project freely available for inspection and gives permission to add an electronic version of the signature project to the Digital Repository at the University of Prince Edward Island. Moreover the author further agrees that permission for extensive copying of this signature project report for scholarly purposes may be granted by the professor or professors who supervised the author’s project work, or, in their absence, by the Dean of the School of Business. It is understood that any copying or publication or use of this signature project report or parts thereof for financial gain shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission. It is also understood that due recognition shall be given to the author and to the University of Prince Edward Island in any scholarly use which may be made of any material in the author’s report.

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