Small-Scale Fuel Cell Designed for Residential Use
Individual homes could soon be powered with their own solid oxide fuel cell systems, thanks to a breakthrough in performance. The new system, from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), achieves up to 57% efficiency – half as good again as previous versions of the same size. It uses methane as fuel, and is designed for individual houses or neighborhoods.
“Solid oxide fuels cells are a promising technology for providing clean, efficient energy. But, until now, most people have focused on larger systems that produce 1 megawatt of power or more and can replace traditional power plants,” says Vincent Sprenkle, chief engineer of PNNL’s solid oxide fuel cell development program. “This research shows that smaller solid oxide fuel cells that generate between 1 and 100 kilowatts of power are a viable option for highly efficient, localized power generation.”