The US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded more than $3 million to Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy for a project to enhance the performance, increase the lifespan, and decrease the cost of stationary fuel cells being used for distributed generation and combined heat and power applications.
With support from DOE, the private sector and the department’s national laboratories have already significantly reduced costs and improved performance in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.
Building on this progress, the new project will focus on developing an innovative carbonate fuel cell electrolyte matrix, which promises enhanced cell output and the doubling of service life, which will reduce the costs and enhance the market for efficient, clean fuel cell power.
In addition, the project will look for more opportunities to reduce costs through greater production by incorporating manufacturing process improvements.
The carbonate fuel cell derives its name from its electrolyte, which consists of potassium and lithium carbonates. To produce electricity, carbonate fuel cells generate hydrogen directly from a fuel source, such as natural gas or renewable biogas, via internal reforming.