Browsing College of Engineering and Mines (CEM) by Subject "Energy Generation"
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Fuel Cell Power Plants in Rural AlaskaOn the basis of fuel efficiency alone, the methanol fueled phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) is a very attractive replacement for the diesel electric generator, especially in the bush regions of Alaska. However, because of the transportation costs for liquid fuel to the bush combined with the lower heating value of methanol, the PAFC looses this advantage and produces electricity that in some instances is more costly than the diesel generator. Although the PAFC is at the highest state of development of all fuel cell power plants, it is still not a commercially mature technology. The present cost of a PAFC power plant is on the order of ten times the price of an equivalent diesel electric generator. There is also no large body of published, long term data on fuel cells of any type larger than 1 kw from which an accurate assessment of reliability, maintenance and operating costs can be made. Considering this and the lack of electrical production cost advantage, the evaluation of the methanol fueled PAFC for buch applications should be suspended until more operational data is made public and units are commercially available.