Solid oxide fuel cells technology can unlock a low-carbon hydrogen economy, says report


Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are close to overcoming the key challenges that have so far held back greater adoption of fuel cell technology, new research shows.

Advancements in solid oxide cell technology means that key questions are now being answered around cost, scale and lifetimes, with SOFCs expected to be competitive without subsidies by 2022, according to a new industry snapshot.

For decades, proponents of a ‘hydrogen economy’ have discussed the potential for fuel cells to revolutionise the world’s power generation, transportation, heating and energy storage. Yet until recently, fuel cells have seen success in niche and often subsidised applications, due to being hamstrung by high costs, short lifetimes and an inability to be mass manufactured.

A new report, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: Opportunities for a clean energy future, predicts that fuel cells are where solar photovoltaics were 15 years ago. New chemical innovations, that can take advantage of cheaper raw materials, mean fuel cells are now capable of lower operating temperatures, which in turn deliver longer system lifetimes.

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