DOE Announces USD 15.9 Million for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Research

Published Jun 15, 2017
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The U.S. Energy Department’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) announced a USD 15.9 million investment in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) research and development. Four projects have been selected to receive up to USD 2.4 million for phase 2 research, while an additional USD 13.5 million is available under a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to support SOFC prototype system testing and core technology development.

SOFCs produce electricity through an electrochemical reaction and not through a combustion process, making them much more efficient and environmentally benign than conventional electric power generation processes.

The four projects advancing to phase 2 were chosen from phase 1 awards made under the FOA Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Innovative Concepts and Core Technology Research Program, which was issued in fiscal year 2015.

The phase 2 projects will include laboratory- and bench-scale research to improve the reliability, robustness, and endurance of SOFC cell and stack technology. Project descriptions follow:

Degradation and Reliability Advancements in Tubular SOFC – Atrex Energy (Walpole, MA) will focus on incorporating an inexpensive on-cell contamination gettering element in each SOFC, along with enhancing electrical contact between the current collector and interconnection layer. The project will also focus on improving the electrolyte layer sintering method. It will also explore extended materials and process development by systematic testing, processing optimisation, and verification at the stack level. DOE Funding: USD 606,386

Processing of SOFC Anodes for Enhanced Intermediate Temperature Catalytic Activity at High Fuel Utilisation – Boston University (Boston, MA) will demonstrate advancements to SOFC technology including the ability to deposit fine nano-sized nickel catalyst particles into full-sized SOFCs. The project will also examine strategies that provide long-term stability to the infiltrated nanoparticles, and long-term performance improvements at high fuel utilisation. DOE Funding: USD 600,000

Employing Accelerated Test Protocols to Full-Size Cells and Tuning Microstructures to Improve Robustness, Reliability, and Endurance of SOFC – The University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC) will focus on understanding the effects of accelerated testing protocols on material structure and chemistry on electrochemical properties and durability of SOFCs. Accelerated tests will be performed for approximately 200–3,000 hours on full-size cells with hydrogen and simulated system gas, which will translate to steady-state SOFC operation for approximately 2,000–20,000 hours. DOE Funding: USD 600,000

Scalable Nano-Scaffold Architecture on the Internal Surface of SOFC Anode for Direct Hydrocarbon Utilisation – West Virginia University’s (Morgantown, WV) research aims to design a SOFC that is compatible with hydrocarbon use. WVU will evaluate novel coatings aimed at achieving 50% or greater power density using hydrocarbon fuel throughout the entire SOFC operation temperature range. DOE Funding: USD 600,000

A new FOA on Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Prototype System Testing and Core Technology Development seeks applications to support development of reliable and robust SOFC technology for entry into service applications, including distributed generation. Specifically, this FOA supports research and development that will address the technical issues facing the commercialisation of SOFC technology and will advance a series of increasingly larger validation projects.

Tags: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)


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