U.S. DOE Fossil Energy Fuel Cell Program 2007-01-3867
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy's (FE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), in partnership with private industry, educational institutions and national laboratories, is leading the research, development, and demonstration of high efficiency, fuel flexible solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and coal-based SOFC power generation systems for stationary market large central power plants. The FE Fuel Cell Program has four parts under the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA): cost reduction, coal-based systems, research and development, and manufacturing. The SECA cost reduction goal is to have SOFCs capable of being manufactured at $400 per kilowatt (kW) by 2010. Concurrently, the scale-up, aggregation, and integration of the technology will progress in parallel leading to prototype validation of megawatt (MW) -class fuel flexible products by 2012 with many opportunities for deployment including FutureGen. The SECA coal-based systems goal is the development of large (greater than 100 MW) fuel cell power systems that will enable affordable, reliable, efficient, and environmentally-friendly electrical power from coal. The key systems requirement to be achieved by 2015 is 50 percent or greater overall efficiency in converting the energy contained in coal to grid electrical power. The SECA Core Technology Program provides vital research and development, and SECA manufacturing will develop the required capacity for SECA SOFC delivery beginning in 2011. The results have been encouraging. The first round of multiple SECA SOFC system prototypes that were developed by several competing Industry Teams and manufactured with scalable mass-production techniques have exceeded SECA's first set of escalating goals for efficiency, reliability, and production cost. For example, an efficiency of 41 percent was achieved in the small 5.4 kilowatt (kW) test system, surpassing the target of 35 percent. This superior efficiency in a small size demonstrates the achievability of much higher efficiencies for larger systems. And, most significant of all, the independently audited system cost was a low $746/kW. In addition to supporting the DOE central power objectives, one of the SECA Industry Teams, Delphi, is using SECA technology to target truck auxiliary power units (APUs) for early market penetration with considerable success.