FuelCell Energy, Inc. has been awarded $3.1m from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for its project proposal to advance the commercialisation of ultra-high efficiency Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) systems.

The award is part of the division of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Innovative Natural-gas Technologies for Efficiency Gain in Reliable and Affordable Thermochemical Electricity-generation (INTEGRATE) programme. The INTEGRATE programme has the objective of developing natural gas fuelled distributed generation systems with ultra-high efficiency (>70%).

The project will further develop FuelCell Energy’s advanced solid oxide cell technology, specifically focused on advanced stack designs capable at operating at elevated pressure. High pressure operation allows the configuration of very high efficiency power generation systems, and also enhances the efficiency of solid oxide based electrolysis and energy storage systems.

“FuelCell Energy is commercialising solid oxide systems for power generation, energy storage, and electrolysis, and this project will further advance the high efficiency operation of SOFC in all of these applications,” said Tony Leo, Vice-President of Advanced Applications and Technology Development for FuelCell Energy. “The performance enhancements enabled by the project will allow higher efficiency utilisation of domestic fuels, as well as high efficiency electrolysis and energy storage for integration of intermittent renewable power sources in the grid.”