Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells and the energy challenge

Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells (MCFCs) are robust and highly flexible devices for the production of low-impact, high-efficiency power and heat. Today’s energy infrastructure is under insistent pressure to evolve and adapt to increasing demands of efficiency, rationalization and sustainability. MCFCs find their application in these challenges and can contribute to a reduction in the use of primary energy sources, reduced CO2 emissions, on-site energy production and carbon sequestration – all pressing necessities for our society, and Europe in particular.

Reducing the carbon footprint of our society is imperative, especially given climate change. This can be achieved by capturing and confining anthropogenic CO2 emissions (an immediate measure) as well as by replacing fossil-based fuels with renewable or waste-derived fuels (a more sustainable solution). MCFCs are unique in being able to do both these things. Thanks to their operating principle, CO2 can be extracted from a gas stream on the cathode side and renewable fuels like biogas can be converted to electricity on the anode side.

An explanation of the operating principles of a MCFC, as well as an overview of the major players in the world on this technology and of many successful demonstration projects, can be downloaded here for free from the ENEA web-site.