Installation of fuel cell-based cogeneration systems in the commercial and retail sector: Assessment in the framework of the COMSOS project

Marta Gandiglio (Corresponding Author), F. Accurso, Massimo Santarelli, J. Buunk, T. Hakala, Jari Kiviaho, S. Modena, M. Münch, E. Varkaraki

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    This work studies the technical and economic feasibility of the introduction of a SOFC-based cogeneration system to supply non-residential buildings with electricity and heat. The techno-economic evaluation is performed for the hotel and hospital sectors, by introducing real hourly load profiles (electrical and thermal) for the buildings. The analysis considers different countries in terms of energy intensity (and load profiles), cost of energy and regulations/incentives. Results are achieved by comparing the SOFC scenario with a benchmark one where electricity is supplied by the grid and heat by a natural gas fed boiler and evaluating the relative payback time between the two solutions. The analysis showed that, despite the current high investment cost of the SOFC system, in countries such as Germany, Italy and UK (where electricity prices are among the highest in Europe), the option is yet advisable if supported by effective subsidies (already existing for cogeneration systems), and it could offer a competitive alternative to traditional systems, especially in the hospital sector, where the relative payback time is achieved in the 10th year for UK, and in the 14th year for Germany and Italy. A cost reduction scenario has also been analyzed: results show that the SOFC is the best option in most of the locations, both economically and in terms of environmental impact (pollutants emissions reduction).
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number114202
    Number of pages21
    JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
    Issue number1
    Early online date3 May 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 779481. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe research.


    • SOFC
    • fuel cells
    • buildings
    • energy efficiency
    • zero emissions
    • techno-economic


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