|Fuel-cell Module in SSFC Facility.|
The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded FuelCell Energy an additional $2.5 million to complete a land-based demonstration of its 0.5 MW ship service fuel cell (SSFC) power plant and begin design work on a next generation ship-based prototype.
The goal of this project is to improve the power generation efficiency on board ships—their non-propulsion hotel power—by using high-efficiency fuel cell technology. To meet the Navy’s shipboard power requirements, FuelCell Energy is adapting its Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plants to run on naval liquid fuels (diesel and jet fuel).
These liquid fuels need to be de-sulfurized before being used as fuel in the DFC plant. As a result, FuelCell Energy has developed a fuel processing system that removes the sulfur before reforming the liquids into methane gas, which can be used as a fuel in the power plant.
The award funds a proof-of-concept land-based demonstration of a carbonate SSFC power plant that will operate at much greater efficiencies than the Navy’s traditional power plants such as diesel generators. In addition, DFC power plants offer the additional advantage of maintaining their high efficiencies at reduced operating outputs, unlike diesel generators which lose efficiency when operated at partial load. The next generation of ship service fuel cell power plants will feature modular architecture, expected to result in lower costs and increased compatibility with more types of Navy and cruise ships.
The project is part of an ongoing ONR vision for developing and deploying a megawatt-size ship service fuel cell power plant. The company completed conceptual design and supporting testing of critical components for the marine module which federal formed the basis of the demonstration power unit. The unit is scheduled to complete testing in Danbury and be delivered to Naval Sea Systems Command’s Philadelphia Detachment for further on-site testing and validation.