- The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy has selected 16 projects to receive $10.2 million in funding to advance solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology.
- LG Fuel Cell Systems — the largest grant recipient by far — will receive almost $6 million to deploy a 250-kW integrated fuel cell system on a site provided by Stark State College in North Canton, Ohio.
- It is the second funding news out of the Office of Fossil Energy in as many weeks. In late August, the office promised $50 million for two large-scale pilots for "transformational coal technologies."
DOE's funding to advance solid oxide fuel cells falls under two categories: core technology development, where it will back 15 projects, and prototype testing, with one project.
"The applied research projects will address the technical issues facing the cost and reliability of SOFC technology and conduct field testing of an integrated prototype system project intended to validate the solutions to those issues," DOE said.
According to the agency, SOFCs are "ideal for carbon capture in that the fuel and oxidant (air) streams can be kept separate by design, thereby facilitating high levels of carbon capture without substantial additional cost."
LG Fuel Cell Systems will deploy the 250-kW integrated fuel cell system to operate on natural gas and connect directly to the electric grid. According to DOE, the prototype will incorporate current technologies and operate under "a range of environmental conditions for at least 5,000 hours to assess progress of system durability, performance, and operating cost."
DOE will provide $5.7 million in funding, while the company provides $1.4 million.
Of the 15 technology development projects, all will receive about $300,000 from DOE. Among those projects, Montana State University will seek to develop strategies that use secondary phase materials added to traditional nickel-based cermet electrodes to enhance SOFC anode durability and performance. Redox Power Systems in College Park, Md., will develop critical high-throughput, in-line metrology techniques for evaluating protective coatings for SOFCs.
And at the University of South Carolina, researchers will work to develop and evaluate "novel, lost-cost, durable cathode materials" to support SOFC commercialization."