News Release

Release Date: August 24, 2016

Energy Department Invests $28 Million to Advance Cleaner Fossil Fuel–Based Power Generation

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the selection of 14 research and development projects to advance energy systems that will enable cost-competitive, fossil fuel–based power generation with near-zero emissions. The new projects, which span 11 states, will accelerate the scale-up of coal-based advanced combustion power systems, advance coal gasification processes, and improve the cost, reliability, and endurance of solid oxide fuel cells. The total award value of the projects exceeds $36 million, which includes a federal investment of more than $28 million and recipient cost-sharing of $8.4 million.

Fossil fuels are the dominant energy source in the United States and worldwide. Today, coal, oil, and natural gas provide approximately 80 percent of the Nation’s energy. The Energy Information Administration projects that in 2040 that figure will have dropped only slightly, to 77 percent. The selected projects will advance technologies that increase the performance, efficiency, and availability of existing and new fossil fuel–based power generation; support national goals for the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions; and help facilitate the safe and sustainable use of the Nation’s abundant fossil energy resources.

Funding for the new projects is provided by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE). The projects will be managed by FE’sNational Energy Technology Laboratory.  The selected projects will support DOE’s Advanced Combustion Systems Program, which is developing efficient and economically attractive combustion systems that generate electricity with near-zero emissions.

Advanced Combustion Pilot Plants

Three projects were selected to complete preliminary designs of pilot plants based on advanced combustion systems. The selected projects will accelerate the scale-up of coal-based advanced combustion power generation technologies capable of 90 percent CO2 capture with substantially improved cost and performance. The pilot plants will be at least 10 megawatts-electrical (MWe) in scale or equivalent and contain design features that will be assessed prior to commercial-scale demonstration. Technical and economic analyses will also be conducted at commercial-scale to evaluate the ultimate cost and performance relative to DOE goals.

Pre-Project Planning for a GE CLC™ 10 MWe Pilot Plant— Alstom Power Inc. (Windsor, CT) and General Electric Company. DOE: $3,209,578

Pre-Project Planning for a Flameless Pressurized Oxy-combustion Pilot Plant—Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, TX), ITEA S.p.A., Jacobs, the Electric Power Research Institute, General Electric Global Research, and Peter Reineck Associates. DOE: $3,279,208

10 MWe Coal Direct Chemical Looping Large Pilot Plant, Front End Engineering and Design Study—Babcock & Wilcox (Barberton, OH) with The Ohio State University.  DOE: $3,330,452

Modular Oxygen Production in Fossil Energy Gasification Systems

Two projects were selected to develop stand-alone oxygen-production technologies for use in coal gasification processes. The new technologies will produce oxygen of at least 95 percent purity for use in small-scale (500 kilowatt to 5 megawatt) modular power plants at significantly lower cost than commercial state-of-the-art oxygen-production technologies. This, in turn, will help reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of producing syngas, a gaseous mixture composed mainly of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which can be converted into clean electricity, fertilizer, chemicals, or liquid fuel for internal combustion engines.

Low-cost Oxygen for Small-scale Modular Gasification Systems—Thermosolv LLC, LP Amina Inc. (Laramie, WY), the Western Research Institute, and the University of Wyoming. DOE: $2,000,000

Oxygen Binding Materials and Highly Efficient Modular System for Oxygen Production—Research Triangle Institute (Research Triangle Park, NC) and Air Liquide. DOE: $1,999,602

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Technology

Nine research projects were selected to improve the cost, reliability, and endurance of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). An SOFC is a solid-state electrochemical device that directly converts reformed hydrocarbon fuels to electricity. Advantages of SOFCs include high efficiency, long-term stability, fuel flexibility, low emissions, and relatively low costs. The projects were selected by DOE’s Advanced Energy System Program based upon responses to a funding opportunity announcement soliciting proposals in two topic areas:  SOFC core technology and innovative concepts.

Five core technology projects were selected. These projects will focus on applied laboratory or bench-scale R&D that improves the cost, robustness, reliability, and endurance of SOFC stack and or balance-of-plant technology:

Chromium Vapor Sensor for Monitoring SOFC Systems—Auburn University (Auburn, AL). DOE: $171,465

Development of Chromium and Sulfur Getter for SOFC Systems—University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT). DOE: $500,000

High Temperature Anode Recycle Blower for SOFC—Mohawk Innovative Technology (Albany, NY) in collaboration with FuelCell Energy. DOE: $600,000

Highly Selective and Stable Multivariable Gas Sensors for Enhanced Robustness and Reliability of SOFC Operation— General Electric (Niskayuna, NY) in partnership with SUNY Polytechnic Institute and GE-Fuel Cells LLC.  DOE: $545,290

Minimizing CR-Evaporation From Balance of Plant Components by Utilizing Cost-Effective Alumina-Forming Austenitic Steels— West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV) in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Carpenter Technology Corporation, and FuelCell Energy.  DOE: $369,999

Four innovative concept projects were selected. These projects will support the research and development of SOFC technology that has the potential to surpass current SOFC technology in terms of cost, robustness, reliability, or endurance:

Robust SOFC Stacks for Affordable and Reliable Distributed Generation Power Systems— Redox Power Systems (College Park, MD), the University of Maryland Research Center, and the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering.  DOE: $3,000,000

Transformational SOFC Technology—Fuel Cell Energy (Danbury, CT). DOE: $3,000,000

Metal-Supported Ceria Electrolyte-Based SOFC Stack for Scalable, Low Cost, High Efficiency and Robust Stationary Power Systems—Cummins Power Generation (Minneapolis, MN).  DOE: $3,935,630

Performance and Reliability Advancements in a Durable Low Temperature Tubular SOFC— Acumentrics (Walpole, MA) and the University of South Carolina. DOE: $2,456,233

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research, development and demonstration projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced carbon technologies and further the sustainable use of the Nation’s fossil resources. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit our website or sign up for FE news announcements.