SBIR Phase I: Natural Gas Fueled Metal-Supported Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1142311
Agency Tracking Number: 1142311
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
851 W. Midway Ave, STE 210, Alameda, CA, 94501-7249
DUNS: 830718008
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Michael Tucker
 (510) 814-4545
Business Contact
 Michael Tucker
Phone: (510) 814-4545
Research Institution
This 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. *

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