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Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell History

photo of molten carbonate fuel cell, 1964.

A Texas Instruments molten carbonate fuel cell
made for the U.S. Army around 1964.

Image #L07715 from the U.S. Army Engineer Research
and Development Laboratories

In the early 1970s, the U.S. Army planned to donate some objects to the National Museum of American History for an exhibition on energy conservation. This photograph was intended to show the general size of one of the items offered.

The unit in the photo was not available however, as the researcher noted at the bottom: "100 watt Molten Carbonate FC - 1964-65 now destroyed - but 1968 1 KW improved version, approx [approximately] same size - is available to SI [Smithsonian Institution]." No mention is made of why or how the 100 watt unit was destroyed, but the 1 kilowatt unit was sent to the museum. Interestingly, that 1 KW unit measures 40 inches wide by 42 inches deep by 37 inches high. The 100 watt unit pictured here is much taller than 37 inches (notice the lab benches behind it). The later unit, about half the size, generated a tenfold increase in power.

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

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