Life Cycle Assessment of Residential Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

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This study seeks to examine how the introduction of residential solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) will affect urban air quality. Both the life-cycle and operations emissions profiles of an SOFC

This study seeks to examine how the introduction of residential solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) will affect urban air quality. Both the life-cycle and operations emissions profiles of an SOFC are compared with the baseload electricity generating technologies that widespread adoption of SOFCs would replace – coal fired, natural gas combined cycle, and nuclear. The monetary impacts from use phase emissions are then assessed in five water-vulnerable cities in which SOFCs would likely be adopted in order to increase local resilience to electricity failures as a result of water shortages. The SOFC system under study is a 1 kWe system of planar design intended for residential CHP. The excess heat from the SOFC is used to heat domestic hot water. Analysis of the SOFC system life-cycle includes raw materials extraction and processing, component manufacturing, SOFC manufacturing, natural gas fuel processing and distribution, SOFC use, as well as energy used in these processes. Life-cycle analysis of the baseload power systems is bounded similarly. Emissions tracked for this study include SOx, NOx, VOCs, PM10, and PM2.5.