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LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc.

Award Number:  FE0000303
Project Duration:  09/01/2009 – 01/31/2014
Total Award Value:  $27,902,987.00
DOE Share:  $20,274,432.00
Performer Share:  $7,628,555.00
Technology Area:  Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Key Technology: 

Project Description

The Phase I effort was focused on cell and stack research and development, specifically performance enhancement (power density, fuel utilization, and degradation), cost, and scaling. LGFCS utilized its integrated planar segmented-in-series SOFCs at pressures up to seven atmospheres, as pressurized operation achieves higher volumetric power densities. The Phase I effort also commissioned the requisite cell and stack manufacturing scale and capacity to support follow-on SECA phases. The Phase I deliverable was a ~15 kW SOFC stack comprised of commercially scaled cells and stacks, to be tested for 5,000 hours in accordance with the program minimum requirements (degradation of less than two percent per 1,000 hours [<2%/1,000 h], operating on simulated synthesis gas). Data from this test were used to estimate the performance and cost of the Baseline System.

The current Phase II effort is to deliver a greater than (>) 15 kW SOFC stack incorporating the cumulative technology advancements and developments of the Phase I and II programs. The stack shall be tested in accordance with the guidance provided in the DOE-approved test plan and the SECA Minimum Requirements, and the performance and cost evaluated with respect to the metrics specified therein. The stack deliverable shall be technically and economically viable for aggregation into a greater than or equal to (≥) 250 kW fuel cell power module, which in turn would serve as a building block for a >100 MW IGFC system.

Project Benefits

The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is to advance energy options to fuel our economy, strengthen our security, and improve our environment. With the Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) program and systems coordination from the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA), DOE/NETL is leading the research, development, and demonstration of SOFCs for both domestic coal and natural gas fueled central generation power systems that enable low cost, high efficiency, near-zero emissions and water usage, and carbon dioxide (CO2) capture.

LG Fuel Cell Systems (LGFCS), along with Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems, three universities, and two national labs, is one of multiple SECA Industry Teams developing SOFC technology for integrated gasification fuel cell (IGFC) systems. A key element is cost reduction, with cost targets of $175 per kilowatt (kW) for fuel cell modules and $700/kW for the IGFC power block (in 2007 dollars [$], 250 megawatts [MW] per year). Analysis has shown that IGFC systems are well-suited to achieving the DOE Office of Fossil Energy’s Advanced (Coal) Power Systems goals.

The SOFCs program will ultimately enable fuel cell-based, near-zero emission coal plants with greatly reduced water requirements and capable of capturing 97 percent or greater of carbon at costs not exceeding the typical cost of electricity available today. Achievement of this goal will have significant impact for the nation given the size of the market, expected growth in energy demand, and the age of the existing power plant fleet. It will also provide the technology base to enable grid-independent distributed generation applications. Federal funding support of this research is appropriate given the game changing nature of the technology, accompanied by risks higher than the private sector initially can accept. In parallel, SECA Industry Teams will take advantage of the inherent scalability and fuel flexibility of SOFCs in seeking nearer-term, smaller-scale commercial applications for this efficient, environmentally-friendly technology, which has less risk than a first-of-a-kind full-scale IGFC system. Success in these spin-off applications (e.g., distributed generation, military, etc.) will further SOFC technology advancement and widespread commercial deployment through the resultant manufacturing and operational experience.

Goals and Objectives

The ultimate goal of this project is to develop SOFC technology suitable for use in >100 MW IGFC systems. Primary objectives of the project are as follows:

  • Reduce SOFC-based electrical power generation system cost to ≤$700/kW (2007$) for a >100 MW IGFC power plant, exclusive of coal gasification and CO2 separation subsystem costs and with the associated stack cost at <$175/kW.

  • Achieve an overall IGFC power plant efficiency of ≥50 percent, from coal (higher heating value, or HHV) to alternating current power (inclusive of coal gasification and carbon separation processes).

  • Reduce the release of CO2 to the environment in an IGFC power plant to ≤10 percent of the carbon in the coal feed-stock.

  • Increase SOFC stack reliability to achieve a design life of >40,000 hours.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Technology Manager 
Principal Investigator 


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