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NETL Releases Analysis Tool to Advance Commercialization of Solid Oxide Cell Technology
SOC manufacturing Tool

NETL released an analysis tool that will assist commercial developers and researchers evaluate the costs of manufacturing large volumes of solid oxide cells (SOC) and stacks, aiding the development and commercialization of SOC technology. 

Highly efficient, ultralow emission SOC technologies are uniquely suited to address environmental concerns associated with electric power generation and hydrogen production, helping to meet clean energy goals that call for a net-zero carbon emission electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.  

SOC technology includes solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC). SOFC produce electricity through an electrochemical reaction rather than through a combustion process, which makes them much more efficient and environmentally benign than conventional electric power generation processes. A synergistic technology, SOEC split hydrogen from water using an electric current. Using both SOEC and SOFC in a single hybrid device has the potential to produce electricity during times of high demand while producing hydrogen during times of off peak demand. As a result, SOC can be key in enabling wider adaption of distributed renewable power sources such as wind and solar. 

NETL’s new solid oxide cost analysis tool provides a fully customizable spreadsheet that can aid in cost estimations for high volume manufacturing of both SOFC and SOEC cells and stack components. The tool will help researchers and commercial developers evaluate the costs of producing cells and stack components as SOC systems increase in scale. 

NETL Systems Analyst Gregory Hackett, Ph.D., explained the tool’s versatility and comprehensive utility. 

“The toolset is designed to provide a detailed cost estimate for mass producing SOC and stack materials,” Hackett said. “Users can compare the total cost, cost per stack, cost per production unit — kilowatt for SOFC and kilogram hydrogen for SOEC — by adjusting key input parameters. The tool is set up as an easy-to-navigate workflow related to the manufacturing process. Material costs, process steps, labor costs, capital costs, utility costs, and indirect overhead costs are all considered.” 

The Solid Oxide Cell and Stack Manufacturing Cost Tool and its user manual are available on NETL’s Energy Analysis library here.  

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.