Ohio, in general, is developing a reputation for having a fuel cell business corridor, and the Columbus-area NexTech Materials is one example. The company recently demonstrated what it claims to be a record-breaking solid oxide fuel cell.
NexTech’s FlexCell, a 1200 cm2 400 watts-per-cell unit is said to be the largest production planar fuel cell. The company says the FlexCell technology will allow large-scale power applications, such as combined heat and power systems, distributed generation and for use in combined coal gasification and fuel cell systems.
NexTech says it uses a patent-pending sulfur-tolerant anode system, a durable cathode and a thin high performance electrolyte. The name “FlexCell” is meant to underline the fuel cell’s ability to operate on a variety of fuel.
NexTech says it has a capacity to produce hundreds of fuel cells per year with plans to scale to a 5-MW per year pilot facility. William Dawson, CEO of NexTech, said that “this demonstration marks an important step in NexTech’s commercial development path. We have identified many markets and are working with partners to develop products for several markets.” NexTech is actively working on a range of commercial and military products including combined heat and power systems, auxiliary power units, underwater vehicles, and transportable power generators.”
The company is getting support from the State of Ohio’s Third Frontier Program as well as the Air Force, Navy and the DOE.