Ceramic Industry

NexTech and Plug Power Complete 2-KW Fuel Cell Project (posted 7/2/08)

July 2, 2008
Joint activities included market research, fuel cell stack development and testing, system design, and prototype construction.

NexTech Materials, Ltd. and Plug Power Inc. have concluded their two-year collaboration to develop a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power system. The two companies completed a number of joint activities, including market research, fuel cell stack development and testing, system design, and prototype construction at both NexTech and Plug Power facilities.

“Completion of this important project positions NexTech to move forward in both the commercial and military power markets,” said Bill Dawson, president/chief executive officer of NexTech. “NexTech has developed and demonstrated its planar 2-kW level SOFC stack, as well as internal reforming of methane.” NexTech plans to work with system integrators to develop products for remote power, transportation auxiliary power units (APUs), combined heat and power, and large commercial stationary applications using its sulfur-tolerant, high-performance stack technology.

Plug Power determined the system requirements and the process design, and developed the balance of plant for the unit, which operated on both hydrogen and methane. According to William D. Ernst, Ph.D., vice president and chief scientist for Plug Power, “This project provided an excellent opportunity for us to evaluate the potential for the innovative SOFC technology developed by NexTech to satisfy the market requirements for continuous power systems.”

SOFC systems offer potential performance advantages for power applications where the use of commonly available fuels is required. They have been demonstrated to produce power at the highest efficiency of any fuel cell and can operate on natural gas and propane. Work is underway to utilize coal gas, diesel, gasoline and kerosene fuels in these environmentally friendly fuel cell systems.

Partners in this project included the Ohio Department of Development, which provided essential seed funding through the Third Frontier Program, and Case Western University, which will develop testing methodologies to help minimize development cycle time through work at the Wright Fuel Cell Group.

For additional information, visit www.nextechmaterials.com or www.plugpower.com.