286651 Natural Gas Direct Carbon Fuel Cell for Hydrogen and Electricity Production (NGDCFC)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012: 2:50 PM
302 (Convention Center )
Meyer Steinberg, HCE, LLC, Melville, NY

Combining the decomposition of methane (natural gas) to hydrogen and carbon in molten carbonate with the direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) is ideally suited for co-production of hydrogen and electricity for supplying hydrogen and electrical driven vehicles at fuel filling stations, A louvered section in the anode compartment of the cell allows hydrogen to be produced separately from the CO2 produced in the anode compartment The cathode compartment provides the carbonate ion which migrates through a membrane to the main anode compartment where it reacts with the carbon formed by the decomposition of the methane to produce CO2.. The electron circuit is then completed for the cell designated as NGDCFC. At the demonstrated 80% DCFC thermal efficiency for electricity production from the carbon, there is enough waste thermal energy to allow the endothermic decomposition of the methane fuel feed. Further heat exchange of the effluent gasses with the entering methane fuel and air allows the cell to operate auto-therma1ly. Thus, the overall energy efficiency of the NGDCFC of natural gas to hydrogen and electricity approaches 100%. The NGDCFC is at least 20% more efficient than the highly developed steam reforming of methane process for hydrogen production, which does not produce any electricity. Conversely, it is 40% more efficient than the natural gas combined cycle power process for electricity. Furthermore, the CO2 is obtained from the cell at 100% concentration thus not requiring any further capture and the CO2 can either be directly sold or sequestered. Preliminary cost estimates indicate that the hydrogen can be produced in the NGDCFC at less than $1.00/gge. This is based on the current price of $7.00/MSCF for natura1 gas feed and selling the electricity for only 60 mills/kWh) which is the lowest cost from coal in the country. Depending on whether hydrogen fuelled vehicles or electrically driven vehicles will dominate the market in the future, the NGDCFC provides the flexibility of supplying either of these fuels from one processing unit. Additionally, the electricity can always be sold back to the grid at the lowest marginal cost of power generated from fossil fuels.

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