Hybrid Electrochemistry and Advanced Combustion for High Efficiency Power
In 2015, two-thirds of U.S. electricity was derived from fossil fuels. This electricity was then distributed through the electrical grid, ultimately netting a delivered efficiency of 34%. Ultra-high electrical efficiency (>70%) distributed generation systems, such as those that combine fuel cells and engines, can lower the cost and environmental burdens of providing this electricity. These hybrid systems convert natural gas or renewable fuels into electricity at substantially higher efficiencies and lower emissions than traditional systems. At the component and system levels, however, these hybrid technologies face challenges including the low-loss integration of fuel cells with engine-based waste recovery cycles, capital cost, and fuel cell stack durability.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Stony Brook University will develop a hybrid distributed electricity generation system that combines a pressurized solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) with an advanced internal combustion engine (ICE). SOFCs and ICEs are complementary technologies whose integration can offer high efficiency, low emissions, long life, and durability. The team's innovation includes the use of a high power density, pressurized SOFC stack with anode recirculation with a spark ignition (SI) engine. The engine will be designed to use the cell’s leftover “tailgas” as the fuel to produce additional power, boosting efficiency up to 70%. The hybrid system will also include compressor and turbines that provide a unique opportunity for an advanced balance-of-plant concept, where the engine and subsystems are used to precisely control the ideal conditions for the stack, including intake air flow rate, pressure, temperature, and backpressure.
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 electric power supplies.
High electric efficiency and decreased reliance on combustion would result in lower greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions.
These systems’ high efficiency and avoidance of electric grid transmission and distribution costs offer the potential for lower cost electric power.