Comparison of waste heat recovery from Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell by gas turbine or Organic Rankin Cycle: a manifestation of 3E analysis

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Khayyam Research Institute; and Urmia University of Technology

2 Tarbiat Modares University

3 Khayyam Research Institute

4 Faculty of engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.



One of the most important methods for efficient hydrogen utilization is the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) because of its low environmental impact and easy maintenance. Depletion of fossil fuels along with global warming is all the more reasons for the researchers to seek new methods in converting primary energy into power, heating, etc.; fuel cells, in the meantime, are a promising method to convert energy into usable power. In the present paper, a proton exchange membrane fuel cell, utilizing hydrogen as a fuel is proposed as the main component of a power generation system. The waste heat of the fuel cell is then recovered via two scenarios, which are using the waste heat as the heat source of an organic Rankin cycle (ORC) or using it to be expanded in the gas turbine. A comprehensive energy and exergy analysis are carried out to find the effectiveness of the system along with the adverse conditions of the components. Results demonstrate that at operation conditions, the system which is integrated with gas turbine has better performance in terms of energy and exergy efficiencies which are 45% and 33%, respectively. Also, being available all three sources of irreversibility, Fuel cell and afterburner has the highest exergy destruction ranks amongst other elements. Furthermore, the economic study results show that the PEMFC/GT has lower Levelized cost of electricity compared to PEMFC/ORC.


Main Subjects