U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Fuel Cell Technologies Office


DOE and NREL Release Analysis of Molten Carbonate and Phosphoric Acid Stationary Fuel Cells

October 6, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announce the release of Molten Carbonate and Phosphoric Acid Stationary Fuel Cells: Overview and Gap Analysis (PDF 1.5 MB) Download Adobe Reader. This report details technical and cost gap analyses of molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) and phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) stationary fuel cell power plants and identifies pathways for reducing costs.   

Results show that significant cost reductions can be achieved through technical advancements on several fronts. The three most important MCFC R&D areas to be addressed are: (1) extending stack life to 10 years, (2) increasing power density by 20%, and (3) significantly reducing the cost for contaminant removal from fuel streams, especially from renewable fuel streams. Results also support the claim that volume production will bring down costs.  

Dr. Robert Remick at NREL performed the MCFC analysis, and Douglas Wheeler at DJW Technology, LLC, performed the PAFC analysis. The MCFC developer, FuelCell Energy, Inc. of Danbury, Connecticut, provided information on the current costs of manufacturing its products and shared its vision for reducing costs by 2020. The PAFC developer, UTC Power, Inc., provided insight into opportunities for cost reduction that could yield to additional technology advancement but were more circumspect with proprietary cost data.

This analysis is the follow-on to results of the MCFC/PAFC Research and Development (R&D) Workshop held in Palm Springs, California, on November 16, 2009, as a pre-meeting to the Fuel Cell Seminar.