36 - fact sheet

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Encouraging the use of fuel cells to provide heat and power
Combined heat and power (CHP) plants use the heat produced during electricity generation to provide local heating. The more efficient use of fuel compared to conventional energy generation leads to reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Fuel cells are an ideal power source for CHP plants in the urban environment, as they convert a fuel's chemical energy into electricity efficiently, quietly and with minimal pollution. However, fuel cells are currently too expensive to be widely used, so niche applications need to be found to overcome the barriers to the introduction of fuel cell CHP plants. Dr Jim Halliday, from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Dr Jane Powell, from the University of East Anglia are examining technical, environmental and socio-economic issues to accelerate the introduction of fuel cell CHP technology. They are reviewing the performance and costs of a selection of current fuel cells, comparing the atmospheric emissions of conventional, CHP and fuel cell CHP power plants, and conducting cost-benefit analyses that include the benefits from avoided emissions, such as climate change mitigation and improved air quality. They will also identify non-technical barriers to the introduction of fuel cell CHP and consider means to overcome them, such as the introduction of green tariffs or encouraging changes in consumer energy demand. The team will conduct interviews with the key stakeholders involved in the development, implementation and operation of CHP and fuel cell technologies. Computer models will be developed to evaluate the costs and benefits of fuel cell CHP sites, taking into consideration the spatial distribution of demand and supply. Case studies representing different types of urban environment will be conducted for the city of Leicester to examine the effects of daily and seasonal variations in energy demand, different consumer types and various building characteristics. The results will be used to identify ways to accelerate the introduction of fuel cell CHP, and the associated reductions in carbon dioxide, improvements in local air quality and increases in business opportunities. More information Contact the lead investigator of Project IT1.36 (Fuel cells: providing heat and power in the urban environment): Dr Jim Halliday Energy Research Unit CLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Chilton, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 0QX, UK Phone: +44 (0) 1235 44 5559; Fax: +44 (0) 1235 44 6863 Email: Other researchers involved in this project are: Dr Jane Powell, CSERGE, University of East Anglia Timeline: October 2001 to August 2003 Useful web sites: The Tyndall Centre: Combined Heat and Power Association: The Energy Research Unit at RAL: Fuel Cells Overview:

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