Costs, Competition & Revenue
The unit costs cited herein are drawn from the economic studies available under the Documents of Interest section of the web site.
Electricity and Hydrogen
The Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process in a plant configuration producing both electricity and hydrogen is calculated to produce ---
Concerning electricity, the market price of electricity currently sold from an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle natural gas power plant is about 50 mills/kWhe. The numbers indicated in the two bulleted paragraphs above show that selling electricity from an Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process plant at the same price as for the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plant would return a significant profit.
Concerning hydrogen, the American Physical Society March 2004 report, "The Hydrogen Initiative" notes at page 6, "The primary means of production is the extraction of hydrogen from natural gas through a process known as "steam reforming". However, steam reforming is operating near theoretical limits and is still several times more expensive than gasoline." [footnotes omitted].
Using much more optimistic assumptions for the competition, our study indicates that a traditional natural gas steam reforming plant produces hydrogen alone for as low as $1.03/gallon of gasoline equivalent and a coal gasification plant lignite feed produces hydrogen alone for $1.34/gallon of gasoline equivalent. The numbers indicated in the two bulleted paragraphs above show that selling hydrogen from an Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process plant at market prices for gasoline would return a more significant profit than for hydrogen from the most optimistic steam reforming plant.
It is the combination of electricity and hydrogen production that makes the Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process plant so competitive.
If natural-gas-fueled Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process power is sold at 50 mills/kWhe, then the hydrogen cost is reduced to $0.84/gal gasoline equivalent. Therefore, a natural gas fueled Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process plant can set a very competitive price for both electricity and hydrogen and still maintain a large profit potential.
Similarly, if coal-fueled Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process power is sold for 41.50 mills per kWhe, which is 17% less than the market price of 50 mills/kWhe, then the hydrogen is reduced to $0.00/gallon gasoline equivalent, meaning that its subsequent sale price would be wholly profit.
Using biomass as a fuel, the Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process hydrogen costs are 20 to 50% lower than the natural gas and petroleum plants for hydrogen production. There is also a 20% cost advantage for Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process compared to coal gasification plants for hydrogen production alone.
The American Physical Society March 2004 report, "The Hydrogen Initiative" notes at page 6, "Hydrogen can also be produced by using electricity to separate hydrogen out of water. This process, called electrolysis, can be made to work using any source of electricity including hydropower, wind, solar, and nuclear fission. However, electrolysis is at best only 75% efficient. The current cost to produce hydrogen in this manner is primarily driven by the cost of electricity and is roughly 4 to 10 times more expensive than gasoline. As can be seen from the bulleted paragraphs above, the Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process is significantly better than this potential competition.
The Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process can be operated in a configuration to produce only electricity.
This configuration adds a solid oxide fuel cell and a backend steam cycle, which results in production costs well below that achievable with conventional steam Rankine cycle and advanced combined cycle plants, especially when using coal as a fuel feedstock.
For this configuration, Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process preliminary cost analyses indicate a 40% lower electric power production cost than coal fired steam plants. When adding a penalty for sequestration of carbon dioxide as a waste, Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process shows a 57% lower production cost for electricity than for conventional steam plants.
When compared with one of the best advanced technologies, the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plant, the Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process is calculated to produce a 21% lower electric power production cost. When taking into account carbon dioxide sequestration costs, the estimated Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process production costs are 25% lower than IGCC.
The American Physical Society March 2004 report, "The Hydrogen Initiative" notes at page 6 that "A likely near-term option to economically produce hydrogen is coal gasification. The technology is relatively mature, and costs are calculated to become competitive once proposed plants begin operating at full capacity. Yet, there are still technical issues to address. The hydrogen produced by this method contains contaminants and the fuel must be purified before using it in hydrogen fuel-cell engines. To effectively purify the hydrogen, researchers must develop catalysts that resist poisoning by the contaminants in the coal. Furthermore, materials must be discovered that can withstand high temperatures and corrosion." [footnotes omitted]
The Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process does not have these technical issues. The hydrogen produced will be less expensive than the described coal gasification. It will be cost competitive, pure and will not force new catalyst development in the hydrogen fuel cell engines. Therefore, the Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process is likely to compete fairly well with the alternatives.
Other products from the Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process can yield additional revenue approximately equal to about 10% of revenues from electricity and hydrogen. These include the sale of pure carbon dioxide, sulfur, nitrogen and other miscellaneous elements captured from the electrothermal decomposition of the coal.
In addition, the process could further improve revenue by co-locating at an oil well or coal mine. Co-location would permit production natural gas from coal beds and oil from depleted oil wells using carbon dioxide injection.
The Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process could be applied to convert stranded gas resources to electricity or liquid transportation fuels.
Finally, Integrated Plasma Fuel Cell process could be applied to pump carbon from underground coal reserves using HCE's proprietary pumped carbon mining process.
Revenue ProjectionFor the U.S. market alone, economic analyses indicate a potential 20 years from today of net revenues (that is, revenues in excess of costs to HCE) of about $13 billion per year.
That assumes that the captured electricity market grows to half the increase in electricity growth over 20 years; that the income is derived from selling both electricity and hydrogen; and that the source of the revenues is a combination of HCE-owned independent power production and licensing fees paid by utilities.
The potential income from other products is not calculated in that revenue projection.
Last modified 07-MAY-2011