The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced up to US$30 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects under a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for small-scale solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems and hybrid energy systems.
This FOA seeks to develop advanced technologies that can progress the present state of 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 DOE plays an important role in advancing innovation to provide clean and reliable energy for the American people," said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. "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."
This FOA will solicit applications for multiple areas of interest and will correspond to research outlined in the DOE's August 2019 report to Congress, Report on the Status of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Program.
"SOFC that are ready to be used by commercial customers will help us meet global emissions targets, as well as make hydrogen production more widely available than ever before," said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. "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."
Applications will be sought for three areas of interest:
- Small-scale distributed power generation SOFC systems: Projects are focused on small-scale applications (5 kW to 25 kW). The primary objective of the FE's SOFC program is to lower the cost of SOFC systems to be cost-competitive with alternative technologies.
- 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.
- 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 five 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 W) stack and a gasifier.