Additively-Manufactured Electrochemical-Chip Based Scalable Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
The U.S. transportation sector produced almost 2,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2019. In addition, nearly all hydrogen gas (H2) and 60% of the electricity produced in the U.S. comes from fossil fuels. Consequently, battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and H2-fueled fuel-cell vehicles have a significant carbon footprint. Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) operating on carbon-neutral fuels offer a net zero-carbon path to sustainable transportation. State-of-the-art SOFC systems, however, are plagued by large size, weight, and complexity, long startup and shutdown times, limited durability and efficiency, lack of fuel flexibility, and high cost. These hurdles limit their use for transportation.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Precision Combustion Inc. (PCI) will develop a process-intensified, multi-functional SOFC architecture that permits a power dense, lightweight design and fast start-up for transportation applications. PCI will combine advanced concepts, process intensification, and additive manufacturing to develop a cost-effective and readily manufacturable SOFC system. It is analogous to a scalable electrochemical chip. The unique SOFC architecture will include an ultra-compact reforming technology to improve heat management, novel composition to improve efficiency, and lightweight additively-manufactured components to achieve fast start-up and rapid thermal cycling. The design will address shortcomings of conventional SOFC systems that have limited their use for transportation. The proposed approach will enable low cost, efficient, and sustainable electric power for transportation applications and utilize net-zero carbon footprint fuels. The approach is likely to be beneficial for stationary power generation as well.
PCI’s SOFC system design offers substantial size and weight reduction with the potential for direct power extraction from a variety of fuels, including future carbon-neutral fuels.
The SOFC system design will enable use of sustainable domestic fuels with high fuel to electric efficiency.
The development offers a path to achieving a net-zero carbon footprint for transportation.
Manufacturing innovations and low cost, readily sourced components are expected to result in cost benefits that meet and improve on DOE’s targets for SOFC systems.