NexTech, a manufacturer of materials and components for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), has received nearly $3 million in awards towards the further development of SOFCs for use in transportation and aerospace auxiliary power unit (APU) applications.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Advanced Technology Program (ATP) will provide up to $2 million, while Ohio’s Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program (TFFCP) will provide $898,137.
APUs help meet the power demands of the electrically-powered systems for vehicle operation and passenger comfort, thereby reducing demands on engine platforms. (Related post.) Automotive electrical power demand alone has quadrupled over the past five years.
For aircraft applications, SOFC-based APUs could reduce fuel usage by 70% on the ground and 40% in flight.
APUs for transportation must be light and compact, withstand mechanical shock and vibration, and—for the greatest ease of integration with existing systems—use the same fuel as that used for motive power.
The NexTech projects are working on improving the power density, manufacturability, durability and the ability to use liquid hydrocarbon fuels of mobile SOFCs.
Collaborators on these development projects include SOFCo-EFS Holdings; Edison Materials Technology Center; and NASA Glenn Research Center.