SBIR Phase I: Natural Gas Fueled Metal-Supported Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
National Science Foundation
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Small Business Information
Point Source Power, Inc.
851 W. Midway Ave, STE 210, Alameda, CA, 94501-7249
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will determine the feasibility of operating innovative metal-supported SOFCs (solid oxide fuel cells) on direct natural gas fuel at high efficiency and without excessive carbon deposition. SOFCs are not successfully commercialized because they are too expensive and prone to failure. Point Source Power is pursuing Metal-Supported SOFCs that will overcome these issues by radically improving cost, performance, durability, and manufacturing. This project aims to enable metal-supported SOFCs for the genset market, providing a high-efficiency alternative to small internal combustion engines (ICEs) for power generation. Metal-supported cells with various anode catalysts will be tested with natural gas fuel. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are that natural-gas fueled genset systems based on metal-supported SOFCs are expected to successfully address the needs of the small generator market, which comprises 74% of the total market based on units sold. In 2009, 9.3M genset units were sold globally for residential applications, and the US residential market is expected to approach $1.2B by 2014. Small ICE-based gensets are reliable and relatively inexpensive, but suffer from extremely low efficiency. Small gensets operate at<15% efficiency, whereas small fuel cell systems provide 35-45% efficiency. This large efficiency gain results in reduced operating/fuel costs and lower CO2, particulate, SOx and NOx emissions per kWh. For example, a 1kW gasoline powered generator running for 1500h at 15% efficiency consumes ~$1100 (273gal) of gasoline, whereas a fuel cell system running at 40% efficiency would consume ~$125 (5000 cu.ft.) of natural gas.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.