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DOE awarding $3.0M cost-share contract to FuelCell Energy for solid oxide electrolyzer; converting excess electricity to H2

FuelCell Energy, Inc. is developing a solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) system to convert excess electricity during periods of low power demand into hydrogen efficiently. The US Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting this development with a $3.0 million cost-share contract to advance SOEC system design that will be added to the Advanced Technology backlog for the fourth quarter of 2016.

The market for energy storage is significant for high efficiency and flexible long duration storage that is affordable for rate payers. The energy storage market is expanding as utilities adjust to manage increased levels of intermittent renewable power generation supplying the electric grid. Annual global energy storage deployments are projected to increase to approximately 7 to 9 gigawatts by 2020 with continued increases thereafter. The SOEC solution being supported with this DOE funding meets these needs for both utility-scale applications as well as on-site opportunities.

Efficient conversion of power to hydrogen is the first step of the solid oxide energy storage system, using hydrogen as an energy carrier. When power is needed, the hydrogen is cleanly and efficiently converted back into power using the same solid oxide system in fuel cell power generation mode.

Suitable for installation adjacent to existing electrical substations, this easy-to-site solution enables long-duration energy storage with a process that has a high round-trip efficiency from power-to-storage and then back-to-power.

FuelCell Energy’s natural gas or biogas fueled SOFC technology generates industry-leading electrical efficiency of approximately 60%. When used in energy storage systems the power generation efficiency will be significantly higher since the cells will be producing power from pure hydrogen instead of methane. Combined with high efficiency electrolysis, this solid oxide based energy storage system is expected to be capable of round trip energy efficiency above 70%.

The DOE contract continues the development of the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology for hydrogen production using electrolysis through a solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC).

Hydrogen produced from SOEC can be stored and used for grid-power, hydrogen fueling stations or for industrial purposes as an alternative to natural gas reforming. SOEC can also be applied as a clean and highly efficient solution for storing excess power produced by intermittent technologies when their output exceeds the needs of the electric grid.

Previously, the DOE awarded a contract for FuelCell Energy to install and operate a 400 kW SOFC system located at a host site and connected to the electric grid. Design of the system, consisting of two 200 kW power plants, is nearing completion and a first prototype is under construction. FuelCell Energy and the DOE are evaluating the most appropriate location for the project.



70% round trip efficiency sounds very high.
It is coming towards the ball park of storing it in a battery.

I would like to see the numbers broken down in detail.

Dr. Strange Love

Use water reservoirs and gravity to store excess energy. Pump the water up hill during low demand.

Use massive springs/weights and hydraulics to store energy during low demand.

(Saw this Crazy Amusement Park ride at Ocean City, Md. several years back ... it uses hydraulic pumps to store energy in these scary giant springs. The energy slingshots a capsule with 2 people skyward .... Absolutely amazing. You have to be "The Right Stuff" to get in that capsule.)


This could become a win-win solution for 1) long term energy storage and for 2) FCEVs?


Pumped hydro or CAES require large capital investment, this can be done locally at lower cost. SOEC is endothermic requiring heat at high temperatures, waste power plant heat might work.


"SOECs have possible application in fuel production, carbon dioxide recycling, and chemicals synthesis. In addition to the production of hydrogen and oxygen, an SOEC could be used to create syngas by electrolyzing water vapor and carbon dioxide."


You would need to know the cost / kw and / KwH before saying very much.


Solid-oxide cells are high-temperature devices, which lend themselves to bottoming-cycle engines running on the waste heat in FC operation.

For the EC, there is a substantial amount of energy required to boil the input water, but I suspect that this can come from the hot output gases.  Maybe the high efficiency comes from recycling the waste heat as the thermal input of the endothermal process.


These crooked always fund their researchs by the goverment
and never release any products nor services, we lose many billions each months.


Locate an SOEC next to a cellulose ethanol plant for the bio CO2 and waste heat, then get energy from wind turbines to make bio synthetic fuels.


Paris Motor Show: what’s striking? #ParisMotorShowVolkswagen
Opel Mercedes-Benz #MondialAuto Tesla
From an outdated “pleasure-of-driving” focus to “pleasure of being driven and do something else that really matters instead”
¤ Access over ownership
¤ A growing concern for a smarter, safer & cleaner city
¤ A strong focus on e-mobility
¤ Tech giants are disrupting the industry
¤ An acceleration of the transition towards autonomous driving

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