News Release

Release Date: June 13, 2017

DOE Announces $15.9 Million for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Research


The U.S. Energy Department’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and National Energy Technology Laboratory announced a $15.9 million investment in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) research and development.  Four projects have been selected to receive up to $2.4 million for phase 2 research, while an additional $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 optimization, and verification at the stack level.  DOE Funding: $606,386

Processing of SOFC Anodes for Enhanced Intermediate Temperature Catalytic Activity at High Fuel Utilization — 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 utilization. DOE Funding: $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: $600,000

Scalable Nano-Scaffold Architecture on the Internal Surface of SOFC Anode for Direct Hydrocarbon Utilization — 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 percent or greater power density using hydrocarbon fuel throughout the entire SOFC operation temperature range.  DOE Funding: $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 commercialization of SOFC technology and will advance a series of increasingly larger validation projects. Learn more about this funding opportunity here.

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research, development, and demonstration projects to reduce the risk and cost of developing advanced technologies to effectively use the nation’s fossil energy resources. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit the FE website or sign up for FE news announcements. Information on additional funding FE opportunities can be found here.


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