FuelCell Energy has been awarded a $6m contract from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to continue research and development under phase III of the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) coal-based systems programme.
The SECA programme targets the development of megawatt-class solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plants to generate electricity from coal syngasis.
The 12-month contract extention is expected to help further enhancement of the performance and endurance of the SOFC stack through continued cell materials research and testing of a 60kW SOFC power plant connected to the electric grid at FuelCell Energy's Danbury facility in Connecticut, US.
FuelCell Energy has designed the module which houses the stack blocks as well as the balance of plant for processing fuel, delivering air and producing heat and power.
FuelCell Energy Application Engineering and Advanced Technology Development vice president, Tony Leo, said: "We believe this technology can provide an industry leading electrical efficiency of approximately 60% and still provide usable heat for combined heat and power applications, resulting in total estimated thermal efficiency between 80% and 85%."
Currently, the DOE's SECA program focuses on development of technologies that would be suitable for large-scale coal based applications such as integrated gasification fuel cell (IGFC) power plants.
The DOE will fund 70% of the total contract value, or $4.2m under the SECA programme's cost-share parameters.