CCS and Power Systems

Advanced Energy Systems - Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Techno-Economic Analysis of Scalable Coal-Based Fuel Cells

Performer: University of Akron

Project No: FE0000528

Project Description

This Congressionally-directed project will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of building a 250 kilowatt (kW) direct coal fuel cell (DCFC) pilot plant. Researchers at the University of Akron (UA) have demonstrated the technical feasibility of a laboratory coal fuel cell that can economically convert high sulfur coal into electricity with near-zero negative environmental impact. Scaling up this coal fuel cell technology to a megawatt scale requires two key elements: (1) developing the manufacturing technology for the components of the coal-based fuel cell and (2) long-term testing of a kW-scale fuel cell pilot plant. This novel coal fuel cell technology is expected to be a highly efficient, super clean, multi-use electric generation technology, which promises to provide low cost electricity by expanding the utilization of U.S. coal supplies and relieving our dependence on foreign oil.

A DCFC stack consists of multiple fuel cells that are interconnected electrically to one another. The performance of the stack will be simulated on the basis of preliminary design and the single cell performance. The simulations and test data will be used to further refine the design.


(a) Schematic of the coal injection and fly ash withdraw system.
(b) Side view of the coal SOFC compartment.

Project Details