Economic feasibility prediction of the commercial fuel cells

Yan Ma, George G. Karady, Anthony Winston, Palomino Gilbert, Robert Hess, Don Pelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This paper presents a prediction method and corresponding Visual Basic program to evaluate the economic feasibility of the commercial fuel cells in utility systems. The economic feasibility of a fuel cell is defined as having a net present value (NPV) greater than zero. The basic process of the method is to combine fuel cell specifications and real energy market data to calculate yearly earning and cost for obtaining the NPV of fuel cells. The Fuel Cell Analysis Software was developed using Visual Basic based on the proposed method. The investigation of a 250 kW molten carbonate fuel cell (FuelCell Energy DFC300A) predicted that, for application specifically in Arizona, United States, no profit would result from the installation of this fuel cell. The analysis results indicated that the efficiency, investment cost, and operation cost are three key factors affecting potential feasibility of the commercial fuel cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-430
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Commercial fuel cells
  • Economic analysis
  • FuelCell Energy
  • Molten carbonate fuel cells
  • Prediction method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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