NanoDynamics Energy, Inc. has received a 15-month, $2.4 million contract from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for the development of a 400-watt solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). The SOFC will be designed to operate on a variety of fuels, including hydrogen and methane gas.
The contract continues funding of a project begun in 2006 with the DOE’s Biomass program, under which NanoDynamics Energy developed a process to fabricate a single tubular cell capable of generating in excess of 20 watts. These cells were then tested and assessed for performance on a variety of fuels, including hydrogen, methane and biogas fuels.
As off-gas from waste treatment plants can vary widely in composition, and is subsequently considered a fairly low-quality fuel source, we tested the performance of our cells on a variety of gas compositions and found that across the board they could maintain relatively stable and efficient performance.
These tests helped further demonstrate the feasibility of using low-quality fuels in SOFCs, and allowed us to advance our initial single-cell success into development of a small three-cell stack capable of operating on hydrogen, waste gas and propane. This stack produced more than a 60-watt output on each of the fuels tested, and further underscored the inherent real-world advantages of SOFC technology.—Dr. Caine Finnerty, vice president of energy products at NanoDynamics Energy