DANBURY, USA: FuelCell Energy Inc., a leading manufacturer of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable power plants using renewable and other fuels for commercial, industrial, government, and utility customers, announced an $11.7 million cost share award from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for Phase III of the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) coal-based systems program.
The SECA program is a collaboration among the Federal Government, private industry, and academia to develop megawatt-class solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plants that use coal syngas to generate electricity. Power generation from coal syngas advances the nation's energy security while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The total Phase III program cost is $11.7 million, of which $8.2 million will be funded by the DOE.
The objective for this Phase III award is to build and operate an SOFC module with output of 60 kilowatts (kW) utilizing the cell and stack designs of Versa Power Systems Inc., the technology partner of FuelCell Energy. The design of the 60 kW SOFC module is scalable, allowing a building block approach to create 250 kW modules or larger. The SOFC module is fuel flexible, capable of operating on many fuels including natural gas, coal syngas or renewable biogas. This award will help to accelerate the development of affordable SOFC modules with enhanced performance and endurance.
"Clean power generated from coal addresses both environmental and domestic energy security concerns," said Chris Bentley, executive VP, Government R&D Operations, Strategic Manufacturing Development, FuelCell Energy. "The ability to continue development, although on a limited scale, is vital for achieving the goal of providing the nation with clean power from an abundant domestic resource."
The USA has approximately one quarter of the world's recoverable coal deposits, the largest of any nation. Almost half of the power generated in the USA is from coal and this coal generated power contributes over one quarter of the nation's total greenhouse gas emissions. Fuel cells operating on coal syngas can generate clean power with virtually zero pollutants and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The 60 kW SOFC module is expected to begin operating in the summer of 2012 at the Company's facility in Danbury, CT and the award concludes in the fall of 2012. FuelCell Energy will continue to partner with Versa Power Systems Inc., managing the project and developing and testing the stack module and power plant designs. Versa Power Systems will continue to develop the core SOFC technology.