EU Awards Grant for SOFC Power Plants

February 01, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

The European Union (EU) has awarded a grant of €5.8 million to a European consortium undertaking a three-year project to develop Large Solid Oxide Fuel Cell-based (SOFC) power plants. The project, 'Towards a Large SOFC Power Plant,' started on January 1, 2007, with a total budget of €11 million.

The project focuses on materials, components and systems required for efficient, reliable and cost effective large scale SOFC power plants. Systems design, balance of plant component engineering, such as heat exchangers, and the processes and materials required for low cost stack production are included in the project. The possibility for stack production will be critical for the successful commercialization of the concept, so the project will study the production of large quantities of stack for non-pressurised CHP (combined heat and power) units and pressurised units producing only power. Reviewing the issues of grid connection, fuels and environmental impact are also included in the project.

The consortium expects the units to be on the market in the middle of the next decade. Success of the units will be measured by a combination of high fuel efficiencies, low emissions, multi-fuel capabilities and use of bio-fuels including gas from biomass gasification and natural gas.

The research consortium coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland comprises nine collaborators from European countries: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Wärtsilä, Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems, Topsoe Fuel Cell, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica e di Processo ’G.B. Bonino’ - Universitá di Genova, Bosal Research, Verteco and Inmatec Technologies.