Acumentrics Corporation, a leading developer of solid-oxide fuel cells and uninterruptible power supplies for the distributed generation market, recently announced that it has completed Phase I of its U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) cooperative agreement. The goal of the SECA study is to advance fuel cell performance, efficiency and reliability while reducing cost.
The Acumentrics fuel cells performed better than expected, with zero degradation and power output 20% higher than anticipated. Tests and results were audited by DOE and independent auditors.Fuel cells use electrochemistry to generate electricity. While many fuel cells require hydrogen to run, Acumentrics fuel cells can run directly off of methane, natural gas, coal gas, propane or biofuels, as well as hydrogen. Acumentrics fuel cells are twice as efficient as traditional small engine-generators, and have significantly lower emissions. Moreover, excess heat from the cells can be captured for combined heat and power while the cell effluent could be sent to a CO 2 sequestration system.
The SECA tests ran for over 2400 hours. Peak power reached over 6.2 kilowatts,20% above the 5 kW design capacity of the unit. Efficiency reached 36%, availability clocked 97%, and the degradation rate was zero. In addition, the capital cost was below the $800/kW target for SECA Phase I.
Phase I success allows Acumentrics to continue to Phase II of the SECA program. Acumentrics is confident they can succeed in Phase II because many of the requirements, such as availability and degradation, were already achieved in Phase I. During Phase II, Acumentrics will focus on further advancing the tubular technology to increase power density and handle coal syngas compositions.
Acumentrics is one of only six companies in the United States awarded work under DOEs SECA industry program. Information on SECA can be found at www.seca.doe.gov.
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