High temperature fuel cell stacks of commercially significant power (>100 kW) have emerged during the last 10 years. Five US programs, two Molten Carbonate and three Solid Oxide were recently awarded feasibility study funding from US Department of Energy (DOE) to define products which could achieve at least 70% efficiency to electricity.
The Department of Energy believes that these pressurized fuel cell systems will become an important part of the future power generation soruces. In support of these views, Rolls-Royce has joined fuel cell manufacturers to develop pressurized fuel cell plants which can be marketed successfully to end users.
In selecting technology which should be supported, RR-Allison considered the following critical issues: technology with US business focus; technology with potential for near term commercialization; and technology which would lead into second generation fuel cell system development over long term.
The Rolls-Royce plan is to join the DOE initiative through the pressurized Molten Carbonate program which has been funded as “Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC) Product Design and Improvement.”
The paper outlines the functional and commercial issues to be evaluated during the proof of concept tests of the first pressurized MCFC power generation package. The key factors to be evaluated during the test program in current order of priority are:
• operational stability
• power output and system availability
• cost reduction potential
• system simplification for commercial power generation application
• enhanced reliability
• power quality
• grid interconnection