Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) can operate directly on Natural
gas, bio gas, propane, Hydrogen, coal bed methane or other similar light
hydrocarbons. The fuel streams and oxidant do not mix or burn, the SOFC
produces electricity electrochemically by converting the chemical energy
of the fuel directly into electrical energy thus increasing the efficiency
of power production. According to theory electrical efficiencies close to
70% are possible, however units being sold on the market today (2009) are
demonstrating 60% electrical efficiency or less. This however has proven
already to be competitive with incumbent technologies. Due to SOFC systems
operating at between 500 – 950 °C they also enable onsite production of
heat as well as power which is being effectively utilised for residential
and industrial combined heat and power applications.
SOFC Developers are starting to reach early commercial markets in the
portable power and
micro CHP market due to the foresight of early adopters, however the
larger mega watt systems have yet to progress beyond global demonstrations
with strategic channel to market partners. SOFC have also shown great promise
in demonstrations as
auxiliary power units for vehicles.
Channel to market partners sought in the following markets:
How it Works
The Air is carried to the cathode, where oxygen is dissociated, yielding
O2 anions. These migrate through the crystal structure of the electrolyte,
going on to oxidise the hydrogen atoms carried to the anode by the fuel.
This reaction yields electrons, heat and water.
2H2 + 2O2- »» 2H2O
2CO + O2- »» 2CO2
O2 + 4e- »» 2O2-
Image source - http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/fuelcells/fc_types.html