The Economics of Waste to Energy

By Vicki P. McConnell, Renewable Energy Focus. 

In this first of a two-part article, Vicki P. McConnell, Fuel Cell Bulletin contributor, looks at scavenging waste for energy, with a view of the practicalities of bioH2 for fuel cells. 

Fuel cell manufacturers worldwide have been examining waste-to-energy applications (WtE, also referred to as EfW, energy from waste, and more specifically hydrogen from waste) since the early 1990s. During that time, proton-exchange membrane (PEMFC), alkaline (AFC), molten carbonate and direct carbonate (MCFC/DFC), solid oxide (SOFC), and phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC) have been demonstrated. Recent, promising WtE economics are resulting from biogas-fueled fuel cells that can generate multiple revenue streams at MW scale.