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U.S. Department of Energy Awards FuelCell Energy an Additional $8 Million in Funding For its Differentiated Solid Oxide Platform

By May 4, 2021 6   min read  (1096 words)

May 4, 2021 |

Fuel cells works, hydrogen, Department of Energy, fuel cell energy
  • DOE award advances SOFC Development for Sub-Megawatt high-efficiency power generation
  • Continues evolving FuelCell Energy’s proprietary Solid Oxide fuel cell technology to deliver an ultra-highly efficient platform to the market
  • Facilitates progress of FuelCell Energy’s solid oxide electrolysis, the core to the Company’s long-duration hydrogen-based storage solution

DANBURY, Conn.  FuelCell Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq: FCEL) — a global leader in fuel cell technology with a purpose of utilizing its proprietary, state-of-the-art fuel cell platforms to enable a world empowered by clean energy— announces progress toward achieving commercial deployment of its solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology. The technical progress in ongoing programs is further advanced with additional funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Company is pleased to report that based on its progress and differentiated platform it has been awarded Phase 2 funding in the amount of $8 million for the previously announced ARPA-E project for the development of ultra-high efficiency SOFC systems for power generation.

“We continue to make progress in advancing our solid oxide fuel cell platform toward commercialization with the aid of key DOE programs in addition to our own capital investment,” commented Jason Few, President and Chief Executive Officer of FuelCell Energy. “With the addition of solid oxide technology, FuelCell Energy offers one of the most complete portfolios of stationary fuel cell platforms in the industry. FuelCell Energy is committed to providing distributed power platforms that help modernize the electric grid, provide a path to decarbonization, deliver energy resiliency and offer a solution to more seamlessly integrate intermittent sources of renewable power like wind and solar.”

This additional funding commitment from the DOE represents another key step in FuelCell Energy’s path to commercialize its high-efficiency solid oxide technology. The multi-stack module that forms the core of the system is a modular building block easily scalable for larger systems. FuelCell Energy is committed to delivering technology that not only delivers on decarbonization but that leverages the billions of dollars invested in global energy infrastructure.

Advancing High-Efficiency Power Generation
The ARPA-E project, under the “Innovative Natural-gas Technologies for Efficiency Gain in Reliable and Affordable Thermochemical Electricity-generation” (INTEGRATE) program is developing system approaches to achieving ultra-high electrical efficiency (>70%) in SOFC power generation systems. After successfully executing Phase 1 design activities, the Company has been awarded an additional $8 million of funding to proceed to Phase 2 to design and build an ultra-high efficiency SOFC sub-megawatt power generation prototype system. This project includes the development of improved pressurized stack module designs, critical to supporting the configuration of very high-efficiency power generation systems, while also enhancing the efficiency of solid oxide-based electrolysis and energy storage systems.

Advancing High-Efficiency Electrolysis
Separately, the Company continues to make progress on the previously announced Modular Solid Oxide Electrolysis project funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to advance the use of its solid oxide platform for high-efficiency electrolysis. Electrolysis uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, the opposite of fuel cell operation. When solid oxide cells are used for electrolysis, they are capable of producing hydrogen much more efficiently than the currently available technology.

“Our proprietary solid oxide technology is differentiated by its high efficiency in converting electricity into hydrogen through electrolysis and utilization of the same fuel cell stack to recall that hydrogen from its integrated long-duration hydrogen energy storage to produce zero-carbon hydrogen-based power generation,” said Mr. Few. “FuelCell Energy’s platform has the ability to extend the life and usefulness of existing nuclear plants and firm up the capacity of intermittent renewable technologies. Additionally, electrolysis technology supports the hydrogen economy by providing carbon-free, clean hydrogen for transportation, power generation, agricultural uses, and a host of other industrial applications such as making steel. Our solid oxide platform will allow us to add long-duration energy storage, electrolysis, and global sub-megawatt power generation to our commercial offerings, increasing the Company’s total addressable commercial markets.”

A solid oxide electrolysis (SOEC) system can run even more efficiently with the addition of thermal heat energy. This EERE project focuses on optimizing the operating parameters for solid oxide electrolysis for high-efficiency hydrogen production. Under the program, the Company has built and is operating a SOEC system capable of producing up to 20 kg/day of hydrogen. The test operation has thus far demonstrated an electrical efficiency above 90% and identified opportunities for increasing efficiency to 100% with the incorporation of external thermal heat energy. Later this year, under another previously announced DOE project, the Company will demonstrate a 250KW electrolysis system to be located at Idaho National Laboratories (INL). This system will be modified to include hydrogen storage and additional equipment to demonstrate the use of the solid oxide stack in an energy storage application. This platform, which is currently being designed and built, will utilize hydrogen produced by the stack, which is then stored and later returned to the stack, operating in fuel cell mode to produce power from the stored hydrogen. This application, called Reversible Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (RSOFC), where the stack alternates between electrolysis and power generation operation, is expected to be a key enabler to the long-duration energy storage needed to incorporate intermittent renewable energy sources, further advancing the clean energy transition.

About FuelCell Energy

FuelCell Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) FuelCell Energy is a global leader in sustainable clean energy technologies that address some of the world’s most critical challenges around energy, safety, and global urbanization. As a leading global manufacturer of proprietary fuel cell technology platforms, FuelCell Energy is uniquely positioned to serve customers worldwide with sustainable products and solutions for businesses, utilities, governments and municipalities. Our solutions are designed to enable a world empowered by clean energy, enhancing the quality of life for people around the globe. We target large-scale power users with our megawatt-class installations globally, and currently offer sub-megawatt solutions for smaller power consumers in Europe. To provide a frame of reference, one megawatt is adequate to continually power approximately 1,000 average-sized U.S. homes. We develop turn-key distributed power generation solutions and operate and provide comprehensive service for the life of the power plant. Our fuel cell solution is a clean, efficient alternative to traditional combustion-based power generation, and is complementary to an energy mix consisting of intermittent sources of energy, such as solar and wind turbines. Our customer base includes utility companies, municipalities, universities, hospitals, government entities/military bases, and a variety of industrial and commercial enterprises. Our leading geographic markets are currently the United States and South Korea, and we are pursuing opportunities in other countries around the world. FuelCell Energy, based in Connecticut, was founded in 1969.

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