The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $32.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) to advance solid oxide fuel cell technologies (SOFC). The selected projects will fall under the Office of Fossil Energy’s two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs): Preliminary Design and Techno-Economic Analysis of MWe-Class Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Systems and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Core Technology Research.
SOFC R&D will enable efficient, cost-effective electricity generation from abundant domestic coal and natural gas resources, with minimal use of water and near-zero atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide and pollutants.
DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the selected projects, supporting the Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) program by helping to mature SOFC technology for commercial use to efficiently generate low-cost electricity. Future funding amounts are subject to congressional appropriations.
FOA Preliminary Design and Techno-Economic Analysis (TEA) of Megawatt-Electric (MWe)-Class SOFC Systems will provide an estimated $23 million in federal funding for cost-shared research to develop a preliminary design and TEA of a MWe-class SOFC power system for distributed generation applications. These projects will have two phases with a competitive down-select between Phase I and Phase II. The Phase II project will culminate in the construction and testing of a MWe-class SOFC system that meets the cost target of $6,000/kilowatt-electric and degradation target of 0.5 percent/1,000 hours. These systems will be field tested for a minimum of 5,000 hours.
FOA Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Core Technology Research will provide an estimated $9.5 million for cost-shared R&D in two areas of interest:
SOFC Core Technology Research. DOE seeks applied laboratory or bench-scale R&D projects to advance cell technology stack components, novel cell and stack architectures, and/or balance-of-plant technologies that will improve the performance, cost, reliability, and endurance of cells, stacks, and/or systems. Successful projects will result in validation of concepts at laboratory or bench scale.
Core Technology R&D in Support of Near-Term SOFC Power Systems Prototype Tests. DOE seeks to address and resolve reliability issues related to the long-term operation of prototype tests for second-generation SOFC power systems in an operational environment. Applications can focus on any SOFC cell, stack, balance-of-plant component, or subsystem and should directly contribute to lowering the system degradation to less than 0.5 percent/1,000 hours. Successful projects will result in validation of concepts in an operational system by a SOFC manufacturer team member.