FuelCell Energy announced an advanced fuel-cell stack design that boosts the power output of its stationary Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plants by 20%. The company is incorporating the enhancement across its entire line of power plants.
By improving thermal management of electrochemical activity within the stack, the company has increased the power output from each cell and can produce more electricity from the same basic power plant components.
The 20% increase in electric power output, combined with the company’s progress in its value engineering and ongoing cost-reduction programs, are integral to achieving FuelCell Energy’s $3,200-3,500/kilowatt (kW) cost target at the end of this calendar year for its DFC3000 power plant.
The DFC3000 power plant output increases to 2.4 megawatts (MW) from 2 MW. Similarly, power output of the DFC1500MA rises to 1.2 MW and the DFC300MA to 300 kW.
Validation tests of the enhanced cell stack in a DFC power plant confirmed the increased output. The company has begun incorporating the enhanced design in its production line. DFC products operating at the increased power output will be available for shipping as early as the second calendar quarter of 2007, and the company is now accepting customer orders for these products.
Our talented and dedicated engineers, technologists and manufacturing employees are concentrating on capturing the power—up to a 50 percent increase—that is inherent in our technology. Now that we’ve successfully captured the first 20 percent, we’re focused on achieving the balance in our ongoing product development plans.—R. Daniel Brdar, FuelCell Energy President and CEO
The DFC takes in a hydrocarbon fuel (pipeline natural gas, propane, methanol, ethanol, digester gas, coal-derived gases, diesel, and others) and reforms it internally to produce the hydrogen required for use in the fuel-cell reaction.
Fuel Cell Energy recently announced plans to advance the development of an Electrochemical Hydrogen Separator (EHS) that separates pure hydrogen from the internal DFC gas mixture. During normal operation, the fuel cell itself only consumes some 70%–80% of the hydrogen feed, leaving 20%–30% available for export. The hydrogen would first need to be separated, cooled, pressurized and purified prior to external use. (Earlier post.)