FuelCell Energy Awarded Patent for DFC/Turbine System

April 03, 2002 by Jeff Shepard

FuelCell Energy Inc. (Danbury, CT) announced that it has received US patent 6,365,290, “High Efficiency Fuel Cell System,” for its combined cycle Direct FuelCell/Turbine (DFC/T) power plant. The company is targeting this technology for the larger distributed generation market, focusing on 10MW to 50MW power plants to supplement the utility infrastructure for grid congestion and load pockets, and larger-scale onsite generation projects for commercial and industrial customers.

The patent award is for a fuel cell system in which a fuel cell and a heat engine, such as a gas turbine, are combined. In the patented DFC/T system, the fuel cell power is augmented by a gas turbine using the byproduct heat of the fuel cell. The supplemental turbine power increases the efficiency and reduces the cost of the power generated without using additional fuel. The combined system does not require any combustion in the turbine and the patent covers both external and internal reforming fuel cells.

“The ultra-high efficiency, combined-cycle, fuel cell/turbine power system is capable of producing electricity at efficiencies much greater than presently available, resulting in significantly reduced fuel requirements for power generation,” said Jerry Leitman, president and CEO of FuelCell Energy.”