Ceramic Industry News

FuelCell Energy to Develop Coal-Based Multi-Megawatt SOFC System (4/4/06)

FuelCell Energy, Inc., Danbury, Conn., has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a prime contractor of a third project team to develop a coal-based multi-megawatt solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system. The total project award for the 10-year, three-phase Fuel Cell Coal-Based System program (subject to negotiation of a final agreement) is approximately $85 million.

The program's goal is to develop a multi-megawatt (100 mW and larger) SOFC power system with at least 50% overall efficiency in converting energy contained in coal to grid electrical power. This compares to today's average U.S. coal-based power plant with an electrical efficiency of approximately 35%. Other program goals include capturing 90% or more of the system's carbon dioxide emissions and meeting a cost of $400 per kilowatt (exclusive of coal gasification unit and carbon dioxide separation subsystems).

FuelCell Energy will be responsible for the overall systems development of its coal-based multi-megawatt SOFC/turbine power plant. Other team members include Versa Power Systems, Inc., which will provide SOFC stack technology development; Gas Technology Institute, which will provide fuel cell pressurization tests; and Nexant, which will provide coal gasification expertise.

Phase I, a three-year, $10.5 million program, will focus on the design, cost analysis, fabrication and testing of large-scale SOFC stacks amenable for incorporation into 100-mW systems. Phases II and III will focus on fabricating and aggregating larger SOFC systems, as well as proof-of-concept systems to be field tested for a minimum of 25,000 hours.

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