Advanced Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Stack for Hybrid Power Systems

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Lewis Center,
Project Term:
05/24/2018 - 08/23/2023

Critical Need:

In our carbon-neutral future, energy-dense fuels will continue to be economically critical energy storage media in many stationary and transportation applications. To preserve our climate, however, we must rapidly transition to fuels synthesized from carbon-neutral resources rather than extracted from fossil reserves. These fuels are likely to be more expensive than their fossil counterparts. It is also unclear which of many current carbon-neutral options (e.g., hydrogen, ammonia, synthetic aviation fuel) will be adopted at scale. Given this uncertainty and cost risk, fuel flexibility and ultra-high conversion efficiency will be especially critical energy conversion system performance metrics. Solid oxide fuel cell and engine integrated systems offer the potential for ultra-high efficiency (>70%) and fuel flexibility at an attractive cost (<$1/W). Additional development is required to address a number of outstanding challenges including achieving the low-loss integration of fuel cells with engine-based waste recovery cycles and operation of fuel cell stacks at elevated pressure with acceptable life.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

In Phase I of its project, Nexceris, LLC, developed a compact, ultra-high efficiency solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack tailored for hybrid power systems. In Phase II, Nexceris is collaborating with CZero Solutions and Brayton Energy on designing and developing an ultra-high-efficiency power system that hybridizes an SOFC and a gas turbine. Nexceris will manage the project and lead SOFC technology development and stack production activities; CZero will serve as the system integrator; and Brayton will provide the gas turbine technology. The hybrid power system will operate on natural gas, with a 70% efficiency target based on the lower heating value of the fuel. The SOFC stacks for this system are based on Nexceris’ patented planar electrolyte supported cells and were designed for elevated pressure operation. The hybrid system will include multiple 10 kW-scale stacks housed within a pressure vessel to enable stack operation at elevated pressure and facilitate efficient hybridization with an appropriately sized gas turbine. The Phase II effort will culminate with a demonstration of a fully integrated 50-kW scale hybrid power system.

Potential Impact:

The INTEGRATE program is developing a new class of distributed and ultra-efficient (>70%) fuel to electric power conversion systems for commercial and industrial customers.


Distributed electrical generation systems can produce highly reliable and resilient electric power supplies.


High electric efficiency and decreased reliance on combustion would result in lower greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. These systems also provide the opportunity for a faster and more economically viable transition to a carbon neutral power generation sector.


These systems’ high efficiency and avoidance of electric grid transmission and distribution costs offer the potential for lower cost electric power.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. David Tew
Project Contact:
Dr. Scott Swartz
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Brayton Energy

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