From Fuel Cell Today comes a report that two companies working together think that mobile solid oxide fuel cell products could be commercially available within two to three years, with larger 100 kW stationary units available in seven to 10 years.
Xin Li, a senior researcher in the fuel cell field who works as a technical specialist with Cummins Power Generation, said, “These units offer the potential to be manufactured at costs approaching conventional stationary power-generation technology.”
Cummins said its SOFC power system – which has been codeveloped with fuel cell manufacturer Versa Power – can provide nearly silent power with significantly lower fuel consumption and exhaust emissions than existing mobile generator sets.
A prototype Cummins unit has produced 3 kW of electrical power and ran for over 2000 hours at the company’s test facility in Minneapolis, Minn. It operated at an efficiency of over 37%, compared to comparably sized small engine based generator sets where efficiency is generally below 30%.
According to Li, “The technology represents a highly efficient, clean emission (no exhaust treatment required) source of high quality AC power, which is compatible with other energy resources such as diesel generator sets, solar and wind.
“The power output is quiet making it more environmentally attractive than traditional engine driven generators, with low vibration levels, and the whole system boasts the added appeal of low maintenance.”