Siemens Westinghouse Power and Southern California Edison Test Fuel Cell/Gas Turbine Hybrid

April 18, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. (Orlando, FL) and Southern California Edison successfully completed factory testing for the world's first fuel cell/gas turbine hybrid power system. The 220kW proof-of-concept system will be readied for shipment, installation and operation next month at the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.

During the testing, the system produced 164kW of clean dc electric power from the SOFC module, including an additional 21kW of ac electric power from the microturbine.

The new hybrid power system offers a revolutionary technology combining the pressurized SOFC and a microturbine generator. The SOFC stack was developed and manufactured for Southern California Edison by Siemens Westinghouse. The microturbine generator was manufactured by Ingersoll Rand Energy Systems (Woburn, MA). Westinghouse was responsible for the overall system design and integration under the sponsorship and guidance of Southern California Edison.

"The success of this project has made technological history and produced highly promising results," said Richard M. Rosenblum, Southern California Edison senior vice president of transmission and distribution. "The factory testing has proven the viability of the hybrid concept, which could very well become a commercial for future large-scale, highly efficient and environmentally sound power."

The project totaled $16.0 million and was developed in cooperation with federal, state and local agencies. It has been praised by a large cross-section of power generators, environmental interests and federal and state energy officials.

"Hybrid fuel cell systems demonstrate a synergy, which is highly sought after in the engineering community," said Professor Scott Samuelson, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center. "This synergy manifests itself in a higher system efficiency at a lower cost than either of the two systems alone could offer, which portends a revolution in the power-generating community."