20-0326 Methanol Fuel Cell for Electricity Generation
We are working on a 40,000 sf office project pursuing Zero Energy Building certification with lofty carbon positive goals for operational and embodied carbon. We would like some guidance on a strategy we wish to incorporate into the project.
For back-up power, we will use of two 2.5 kW direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC), a 100% bio-based and renewable fuel source. See dialogue post previously submitted and approved, "
Methanol Fuel Cell for Backup Power
." This methanol fuel cell system can also produce electricity from its 100% bio-based and renewable fuel sources during non-emergency conditions. Our questions are:
A. Can this 100% bio-based and renewable fuel source fuel cell system be used during non-emergency situations to produce electricity?
B. Can the energy produced/used from the fuel cell contribute with the photovoltaic system to the project's renewable energy production during its Zero Energy Certification performance period?
This strategy would allow us to produce energy at night when the PV cannot generate electricity. It would also help offset the embodied carbon of the project over time.
The fuel cell system may not be used during non-emergency situations to produce electricity.
The energy produced/used from the fuel cell may not contribute with the photovoltaic system to the project's renewable energy production during its Zero Energy Certification performance period.
Per the glossary in the 4.0 Petal Handbooks (as well as in the Energy Petal Handbook for LBC 3.1 still in effect when the project registered), the definition of renewable includes, "fuel cells powered by hydrogen generated from renewably powered electrolysis". The team has indicated in subsequent correspondence that the methanol used in the fuel cell is derived from natural gas, which is not a renewable power source. Energy produced from the methanol fuel cell is not considered renewable energy and it may not be used during non-emergency situations to produce electricity. If the methanol fuel cell is used during the performance period for emergency back-up purposes, the energy must be included in the net energy balance calculation.