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DOE provides funding for small-scale SOFC and hybrid energy systems

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) will provide up to $30 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for small-scale solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) systems and hybrid energy systems.

This FOA seeks to develop advanced technologies that can progress the present state of small-scale solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) hybrid systems using solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) technologies to a point of commercial readiness for hydrogen production and power generation. It also seeks validation of SOFC using syngas from gasification facilities.

“The Department of Energy plays an important role in advancing innovation to provide clean and reliable energy for the American people. This research on SOFC is intended to lower the cost of SOFC systems to a level where they are cost-competitive with alternate technologies with minimal subsidies. The Trump Administration supports researching these advanced technologies and working with private industry to make these systems commercially available for power generation and hydrogen production.”

Dan Brouillette, secretary of Energy.

“SOFC that are ready to be utilized by commercial customers will help us meet global emissions targets, as well as make hydrogen production more widely available than ever before. The projects resulting from this funding opportunity represent a significant step that will benefit the United States and ultimately our global partners for decades to come.”

Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for Fossil Energy.

Applications will be sought for three areas of interest:

  1. Small-scale distributed power generation SOFC systems.
    Projects are focused on small-scale applications (5-25 kilowatt). The primary objective of FE’s SOFC program is to lower the cost of SOFC systems to be cost-competitive with alternative technologies.
  2. Hybrid systems using solid oxide systems for hydrogen and electricity production. 
    Proposal for projects will include the validation and development of materials and hybrid energy systems required for improving the cost, performance, and reliability of SOEC using a configuration of hybrid SOFC/SOEC.
  3. Cleaning process for coal-derived syngas to be used as SOFC fuel and testing of single and multiple cells on syngas
    Projects will leverage existing equipment and develop new processes to clean the contaminants in coal-derived syngas, as well as support developers testing existing materials with a shorter development cycle that have a potential for faster near-term commercialization (approximately 5 years). Existing equipment for the design, fabrication, and testing of a small-scale syngas cleanup system can be connected to a small-scale SOFC (at least 100 watts) stack and a gasifier.
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