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A Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)-Based Biogas-from-Waste Generation System for Residential Buildings in China: A Feasibility Study

Qiancheng Wang (), Hsi-Hsien Wei () and Qian Xu ()
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Qiancheng Wang: Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong 518000, China
Hsi-Hsien Wei: Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong 518000, China
Qian Xu: Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, Singapore 637551, Singapore

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 7, 1-9

Abstract: The building sector consumes a great deal of energy and generates organic waste, and thus has been a cause of considerable environmental concern. One distributed-energy technique, solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)-based biogas-from-waste generation, has shown promise for waste treatment as well as energy saving in buildings. This study proposes a high-efficiency cooling, heating and electricity-generation system with an SOFC-absorption water-cooled tri-generation configuration. Operations data from a typical high-rise commercial building in Shanghai were analyzed as a case study of the proposed system’s economic, environmental, and social feasibility in China. The results indicated that its economic performance was satisfactory, with a short payback period of less than one year if subsidized. Additionally, the system was found to achieve high efficiency: i.e., 85%, as compared to approximately 40% achieved by conventional combustion-powered systems. Finally, in terms of social feasibility, survey respondents not only expressed positive overall attitudes towards the application of the system, but also raised concerns about its long-term operating costs. Given that foreseeable technological advancements promise greater flexibility and reduced space requirements, these results imply that the proposed integrated SOFC multi-generation system will be well-suited to future infrastructure and building projects in China.

Keywords: distributed-energy resources; distributed waste-treatment systems; building waste to energy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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