Colorado Fuel Cell Center Reaches 6.7 kW(e) at 3 bar(g) pressure

Colorado Fuel Cell Center reaches 6.7 kWe at 3 barg pressure

Researchers at the Colorado Fuel Cell Center recently generated 6.7 kWe from a solid-oxide fuel cell stack. The stack is manufactured by industrial collaborator Ceres of Horsham, West Sussex, United Kingdom. This high power level (33 A and 202 V) was achieved through pressurized operation of a Ceres 5-kWe-rated stack under a fuel stream that simulates reformed natural gas, a readily available fuel. Stack operation was executed within a pressurized environment at a steady operating condition of 3 barg (~45 psig) and 610 ºC. This unusual operating point is designed to reproduce the conditions found when hybridizing the solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) with a downstream reciprocating engine. SOFC-engine hybridization brings unprecedented electrical efficiency at a competitive price point, in this case targeting distributed electricity generation.

This high-pressure stack demonstration is supported through the INTEGRATE program, a U.S. Department of Energy research project managed through the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (DoE ARPA-E). Collaborators include Colorado State University and industrial partners Air Squared and Kohler Power. The program goal is to demonstrate an 80 kWe, 70% efficient hybrid electric generator with a competitive price point of $900/kWe.

Pressurized operation of kW-scale SOFC stacks requires the design and commissioning of unique experimental tools. The pressurized stack test stand (pictured) was recently built in the Colorado Fuel Cell Center. This useful and unique research tool presents a valuable resource for the SOFC and electrolyzer community, as the interest in pressurized operation grows across the industry.

engineers working on the test stand in the Colorado Fuel Cell Center

Research professor Chris Cadigan (left) and research engineer Chris Chmura (right) prepare a 1-kWe Ceres stack for pressurized performance characterization at the Colorado Fuel Cell Center.