US DOE Initiative to Accelerate SOFC Development

Ten-year, three-part program will take advantage of the many recent developments in solid-oxide fuel cell technology.

Published: 16-Mar-2001

At a recent Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) Workshop in Baltimore, Md., the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new initiative to accelerate development of an advanced solid-oxide fuel cell module.

The new ten-year, three-part program will take advantage of the many recent developments in solid-oxide fuel cell technology. The primary emphasis will be to drive down the cost of the fuel cell system, enabling its broad commercial application. The three-year cost goal is $800 per kilowatt. The final cost goal is $400 per kilowatt by 2010.

DOE¹s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will foster the development of this low-cost, 5-kilowatt module targeted at stationary, transportation, and military applications. Dr. Mark Williams, NETL¹s Fuel Cell Product Manager, stated, ³The benefits of the solid-oxide fuel cell are tremendous. In fact, the fuel cell is also applicable to the Vision 21 Program, DOE¹s power plant of the future.

NETL convened the SECA workshop to gather input from the 180 attendees representing industry, universities, national laboratories, the Department of Defense and other government agencies to help formulate a solicitation to select several industrial teams to develop the advanced fuel cell system. NETL officials said the solicitation will be available for public comment in mid-July, and they expect to select the industrial teams early in 2001.

NETL, one of DOE¹s 15 national laboratories, manages and implements a broad spectrum of energy and environmental programs. NETL employs approximately 1,100 federal personnel and support-service contractors at its sites in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Morgantown, W.Va.

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