Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Electronic Technology Advances Fuel Cell Development

Date:
February 11, 2005
Source:
National Energy Technology Laboratory
Summary:
With the U.S. Department of Energy’s announcement of yet another advance in the development of fuel cell technology, the nation moves one step closer to the time when all barriers—including cost, size, and efficiency—are overcome to make fuel cells commonplace in our homes and businesses.

Washington, DC (Feb. 9, 2005) — With the U.S. Department of Energy’s announcement of yet another advance in the development of fuel cell technology, the nation moves one step closer to the time when all barriers—including cost, size, and efficiency—are overcome to make fuel cells commonplace in our homes and businesses.

Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, working under a research grant managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, developed a highly efficient converter that can boost low DC (direct current) voltage produced by solid oxide fuel cell stacks to the higher voltage required for conversion to AC (alternating current) for household and commercial applications. The boost is significant because it provides another technological step in reducing the efficiency, size, and cost of fuel cells.

Virginia Tech, which is applying for a patent on the technology, developed its converter in the Department of Energy’s Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) Program, created to hasten the development of solid oxide fuel cells so they could be affordably marketed for power generation.

Under terms of the SECA partnership, Virginia Tech will offer each of the SECA industrial teams the first option to enter into an agreement—legally called a non-exclusive license—to apply the converter technology to their solid oxide fuel cell development projects. In a related matter, a private company has expressed an interest in Virginia Tech’s converter and is negotiating to apply it to solar, wind, and other renewable power technologies.

"The significance of Virginia Tech’s work is that it facilitates the downsizing of the fuel cell stack and boosts net power output, while at the same time reducing the size and cost of the electronic systems behind it—key technical objectives for maturing solid oxide fuel cell technology to commercial-market self-sustainable status," according to NETL Project Manager Don Collins.

Virginia Tech’s device, when combined with highly efficient switching and digital control techniques, converts 22 volts to 400 volts at 97 percent energy efficiency. The device is able to boost voltage and reduce 120-hertz ripple current to 2 percent without the costly, bulky capacitors or additional converters that are customarily used. The net effect is that fuel consumption, the size of fuel cell systems, and costs are reduced, thereby taking a significant step toward SECA’s goal of 40–60 percent overall fuel cell efficiency at a cost of $400 per kilowatt by 2010. SECA studies indicate that each 1 percent improvement in inverter efficiency can reduce fuel cell stack costs by $5–$10 per kilowatt.

As the nation anticipates unbridled growth in the demand for electricity in the near future, fuel cells are viewed as an attractive source of energy because they provide significant environmental, energy, and economic benefits. By producing electricity through chemical reactions, fuel cells don’t require combustion processes or the equipment of traditional power generation. Fuel cells emit very low levels of pollutants when powered by fossil fuels, such as natural gas, and virtually no pollutants when powered by hydrogen. SECA fuel cells will also permit flexible operation on a variety of fuels and will provide both distributed and central generation options that will greatly enhance U.S. energy security.

Once their costs are reduced to the $400 per kilowatt level and efficiency goals are attained, fuel cells can be used as power generation resources in a variety of ways, such as onsite power for houses and commercial properties, transportation, and modular application by utilities. In addition, the flexibility of solid oxide fuel cells to be combined with turbines as ultrahigh efficiency hybrids contributes significantly to the Administration’s FutureGen concept, a plan for the zero-emission, high-efficiency power plant of the future.

As a key component of FutureGen, fuel cells serve as a foundation for the Administration’s Clean Coal Power Initiative, a cost-shared partnership between government and industry to demonstrate coal-based, advanced power-generation technologies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Energy Technology Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Energy Technology Laboratory. "New Electronic Technology Advances Fuel Cell Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050210004414.htm>.
National Energy Technology Laboratory. (2005, February 11). New Electronic Technology Advances Fuel Cell Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050210004414.htm
National Energy Technology Laboratory. "New Electronic Technology Advances Fuel Cell Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050210004414.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins