2016 Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Project Portfolio

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells are energy conversion devices that produce electric power through an
electrochemical reaction rather than by combustion. A transformational technology, SOFC’s inherent characteristics make them uniquely suitable to address the environmental, climate change and water concerns associated with fossil­ fuel­ based electric power generation. The mission of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Program is to enable the generation of efficient, low-cost electricity with intrinsic carbon capture capabilities for near-term solid oxide fuel cell natural gas distributed generation (DG) systems and long-term coal or natural gas central power systems.

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Project Portfolio
The Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) Project Portfolio provides an overview of the SOFC Program, including a description of key technology areas, information on projects, location map, and contact information for personnel supporting the SOFC Program.

The SOFC Program maintains a diversified portfolio of R&D projects to address the technical challenges and ensure a high­probability of achieving the desired cost and performance targets. The strategy includes a mix of near­, mid­, and long­term R&D projects as well as laboratory, proof­of­concept, and pilot­scale projects to foster the advancement of SOFC technologies for deployment in diverse applications, including those fueled by coal­derived syngas or natural gas, which meet or exceed the targets for efficiency, cost, and carbon capture. The Program’s RD&D efforts are channeled through three key technologies: Cell Development, Core Technology, and Systems Development. The R&D elements of the program are within the Cell Development and Core Technology key technologies whereas the Systems Development key technology focuses on the RD&D of SOFC power systems.

Cell Development
Research is focused on the cell-related technologies critical to the commercialization of SOFC technology. The components of the SOFC - the anode, cathode and electrolyte – are the primary research emphasis of this key technology. The electrochemical performance, durability, and reliability of the solid oxide fuel cell are key determinants in establishing the technical and economic viability of SOFC Power Systems. Thus the SOFC Program maintains a diversified portfolio of projects that are focused on improving electrochemical performance and cell power density, reducing long term degradation, developing more robust cells, and cost reduction. Additional research projects include evaluation of contaminants, advanced materials, materials characterization, advanced manufacturing, and failure analysis. Program participants include academia, national laboratories, small businesses, the NETL Research & Innovation Center, and other R&D organizations. The portfolio maintains a mix of near-, mid-, and long-term R&D projects at bench- and laboratory-scale.

Core Technology
This key technology conducts applied research and development on technologies – exclusive of the cell components – that improve the cost, performance, robustness, reliability, and endurance of SOFC stack or balance-of-plant (BOP) technology. Projects in the Core Technology portfolio focus on interconnects and seals, identify and mitigate stack-related degradation, develop computational tools and models, and conduct laboratory- and bench-scale testing to improve the reliability, robustness, endurance, and cost of stacks and BOP components, respectively. Program participants include academia, national laboratories, small businesses, the NETL Research & Innovation Center, and other R&D organizations.

Systems Development
This key technology’s primary focus is on the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of SOFC power systems. Project participants (Industry Teams) are independently developing unique and proprietary SOGC technology suitable for either syngas- or natural gas fueled applications. The Industry Teams are responsible for the design and manufacture of the fuel cells, integration of cells hardware development, manufacturing process development, commercialization of the technology, and market penetration. These developers also focus on the scale up of cells and stacks for aggregation into fuel cell modules and validation of their respective technology. This key technology also supports laboratory-scale stack tests, proof-of-concept systems, pilot-scale demonstrations, and entry-into-service power systems. The multi-industry team approach not only provides technology diversification but also offers insurance against business environment risk, reducing program dependency on a single developer. The Industry Teams have the opportunity to determine relevant R&D topics based on their design-specific experience and needs and are held to a common set of performance and cost metrics.

Also within the Systems Development key technology is a portfolio of projects focused on innovative concepts. These projects conduct bench-scale R&D on innovative SOFC stack technologies that have the potential to significantly decrease the cost of SOFC power systems by leveraging advancements in lower-cost materials, advanced manufacturing methods, and/or alternative architectures.

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