Life Cycle Assessment of solid oxide fuel cell systems for data centers A comparative study between three fuel alternatives: natural gas, biogas, and hydrogen
Examensarbete för masterexamen
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Bibliographical item details
|Type: ||Examensarbete för masterexamen|
|Title: ||Life Cycle Assessment of solid oxide fuel cell systems for data centers A comparative study between three fuel alternatives: natural gas, biogas, and hydrogen|
|Authors: ||Teixeira Taboada, Sabela|
|Abstract: ||The aim of this thesis was to evaluate the environmental performance of the solid oxide fuel cell
(SOFC) BlueGEN BG-15 manufactured by Solid Power. To conduct this study, an attributional
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was conducted to compare three fuel alternatives to be fed into the
SOFC. This thesis was conducted in collaboration with RISE ICE and it is part of two European
Union projects that deal with using fuel cells to provide reliable prime power for data centers.
The research question to be answered was: “What is the environmental performance of a SOFC
run with three different fuels: biogas from food waste, natural gas and hydrogen?”.
To answer this question, the system was studied from cradle-to-grave using data provided from
the manufacturers as well as literature. Biogas is locally produced from food waste in Sweden,
natural gas comes from imports to Italy and the hydrogen is manufactured by electrolysis using
electricity from the Italian energy grid. The different processes were modelled in the LCA
software SimaPro. The database used was EcoInvent 3.7 and Environmental Footprint 3.0 was
the impact method selected.
The environmental impacts were evaluated for climate change, particulate matter, acidification,
water scarcity, fossil fuels resource use and minerals and metals resources use. A contribution
analysis to check the possesses with the highest environmental burden was done. Also, a
sensitivity analysis was conducted to evaluate how the impacts change when renewable energy is
used to produce the hydrogen.
Results revealed that fuel production is responsible for most of the impacts. Only mineral and
metals resource use is mostly affected by manufacturing the SOFC. Comparing the three fuel
alternatives, hydrogen has by far the highest environmental impact. Biogas has the lowest climate
change impact and fossil fuel resource use. For the remaining categories biogas and natural gas
impact is similar.
The environmental impact from hydrogen depends on the production pathways considered and
could become an environmental competing alternative if renewable energy is used to produce it.
This way, climate change impact would be reduced. However, other impacts linked to each energy
source may arise.
The thesis concluded with some mitigation measurements as well as possible areas of
improvement for future research on this area.|
|Keywords: ||SOFC, LCA, sustainability, biogas, natural gas, hydrogen, energy, renewable energy, data center, electricity, power, fuel cell.|
|Issue Date: ||2022|
|Publisher: ||Chalmers tekniska högskola / Institutionen för mekanik och maritima vetenskaper|
|Collection:||Examensarbeten för masterexamen // Master Theses|
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