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August 20, 2001
Volume 79, Number 34
CENEAR 79 34 p. 13
ISSN 0009-2347
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Solid oxide devices targeted at industry, large-scale uses


Four industrial teams were selected last week by the Department of Energy to take part in a 10-year, $500 million program to develop better ways to manufacture cheaper and commercially acceptable solid oxide fuel cells. They are Honeywell, Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp., Delphi Automotive Systems and Battelle, and Cummins Power Generation and McDermott Technology Inc.

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) are just one of several fuel-cell technologies that enjoy DOE support because of their commercial potential, department officials say.

SOFC's particular application has been to higher power operations, such as industrial or large-scale central electricity generating stations. According to DOE officials, SOFCs have the advantage of being able to readily use fossil fuels as a source of hydrogen, and of running at high temperatures (1,500 šF), which could be used to provide heat for industrial applications.

The 10-year goal of the new DOE programs is to cut capital costs to $400 per kW through manufacturing improvements as well as raising efficiencies to 60–70%, DOE says.

The department will provide about $270 million over the next 10 years, and the rest will come from the industrial teams. DOE officials say a related R&D program designed to support the industrial manufacturing projects with about half the funding will be announced in the fall.

Among projects are ones to make modular 3- to 10-kW SOFC systems, 7- to 10-kW combined heat and power residential systems, and small units for vehicle applications.

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