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Solid Oxide Fuel Cell History

photo of solid oxide fuel cell and microturbine, 2000.

"The Siemens Westinghouse 220-kilowatt power system is the first in the world to combine a solid oxide fuel cell and a microturbine in an innovative 'hybrid' configuration."
Image from the U.S. Department of Energy

The following excerpt is from the DOE press release dated 17 April 2000, that announced the shipment of this cell to California.

"The new power plant is made up of 1152 individual tubular ceramic cells which give it the capability to generate about 200 kilowatts of electricity. The unit is the world's first to operate the cells under high pressures and to use the hot, pressurized exhaust gases to drive a microturbine generator which will generate an additional 20 kilowatts of electricity at full power. ... The power plant's combined maximum output of 220 kilowatts is enough electricity to power more than 200 homes.

"Since natural gas has very little sulfur in it when it reaches the fuel cell, there are no sulfur dioxide pollutants released into the air. Nitrogen oxide emissions, another air pollutant, are likely to be in the range of only 0.5 parts per million - nearly 50 times less than today's average gas turbines. The ultra-clean performance is the major reason why fuel cells can be sited in the most environmentally sensitive regions.

"In the power industry, efficiency gains of even a few percentage points can make a major economic difference over the life of a generating system. Siemens Westinghouse expects that electrical efficiencies of more than 70 percent can be achieved as its hybrid technology improves. Higher efficiencies also mean fewer greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide. When compared to a conventional coal-fired power plant, a 70-percent efficient natural gas fuel cell-turbine hybrid would cut the release of carbon dioxide by three-fourths. The reduction would be nearly one-third when compared to today's natural gas turbine plants."

If you have information about this fuel cell image, or SOFC technology in general, please fill out the Collecting History questionnaire accessible through the link at the top of the previous page.

The complete press release was found on the Web at:

Information about this project was also found on the Siemens Westinghouse website at:

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