Fuel Cell FAQs / How much does a fuel cell cost to operate?

Besides the routine maintenance of a fuel cell the main cost that will occur with be the consumption of hydrogen.  The amount of hydrogen you use is dependent on the amount of energy you expect to consume.

Below are example calculations for determining the cost of operating a 1kW fuel cell on hydrogen. In these examples a compressed hydrogen cylinder with a capacity of 200 cubic feet of hydrogen at normal temperature and pressure (NTP) is used. The purity of hydrogen consumed is 99.99999%.

 

Calculation:

1. Compressed hydrogen cylinder – 200 cu.ft. of hydrogen (NTP) or 5667.37 Liters.
2. Cost of hydrogen cylinder is $100 + $14/month (rental) +$20 (delivery)
3. 1kW fuel cell system with a hydrogen consumption rate of 13 Standard Liter/min.
4. Number of hours of operation at 1kW = 5667.37/13 = 7.26 hours

Costs: Example 1

The cost of operating a 1kW fuel cell for 7.26 hours when only one cylinder is purchased per month is $134.
This is equivalent to $18.40 per hour to operate at one kilowatt.

Costs: Example 2

When the number of hydrogen cylinders used is increased, then the cost is reduced. Assuming that 5 cylinders of hydrogen are consumed in one month, this gives 7.26 x 5 = 36.33 hours of operation. The cost of the cylinders is (5 x $100) + (5 x $14) + $20 = $590.
This is equivalent to $16.24 per hour to operate at one kilowatt.

Posted in: Common Questions About Fuel Cells