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NYSERDA Awards $200,000 to Solid Cell of Rochester To Pursue Manufacturing of Vital Fuel Cell Component

Company Working with RocCera, Alfred University To Commercialize Innovative Ceramic Part Leads to Job Creation Over Next Year

November 22, 2011

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded $200,000 to Solid Cell Inc., a Rochester-based manufacturer of solid-oxide fuel cells and equipment.

The company is matching NYSERDA’s investment, with help from RocCera, a Rochester-based company specializing in advanced ceramic component manufacturing, and Alfred University.

The company will use the funding to investigate the manufacturing of a vital, patent-pending fuel-cell part called the “interconnect” out of a ceramic material. The interconnect, which both separates the fuel cell chemicals and electrically connects individual cells, has a lower cost, superior high-temperature stability, and higher electrical conductivity than most current interconnect materials.

Fuel cells are electrochemical energy conversion devices, which generate “clean” electricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water.  Solid Cell is developing affordable fuel cells for a variety of applications, including residential, commercial, industrial, and military uses.

“NYSERDA is proud to support Solid Cell and its efforts in making advancements in the fuel cell industry which will allow for its business to expand and create additional jobs,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “By encouraging more businesses, municipalities and other entities to invest in this promising field, we are promoting clean energy while reducing demand on the electric grid.”

Solid-oxide fuel cells operate at very high temperatures (between 500 and 1,000 degrees C), which allows them to run on a variety of fuels other than pure hydrogen. The high temperature also has the advantage of creating heat, which can be used for a variety of heating needs (a process known as combined heat and power).

This is NYSERDA’s second award to Solid Cell. The first $250,000 was awarded last year, and helped the company set up its current 5,000-square foot development facility at the Rochester Technology Park (formerly Kodak’s Elmgrove Plant) last February. The company now has three full-time employees and with this additional funding from NYSERDA, it will allow Solid Cell to double its manufacturing space in 2012 and hire several more employees in the next year.

“We are extremely proud that NYSERDA has selected Solid Cell for a second time to receive funding under the Environmentally Preferred Power Systems Technologies program,” said Arkady Malakhov, founder and CEO.  “We credit NYSERDA’s support as one of the catalysts behind our decision to build our first facility in New York State.  In a difficult economic environment, NYSERDA’s steadfast commitment to innovative energy companies like Solid Cell has fostered technological advances, job creation and economic growth in a strategically vital sector of the state’s economy.”

According to a recent report from Pike Research, a trade group, revenue in the global fuel cell industry climbed from approximately $260 million in 2008 to nearly $670 million two years later – an increase of more than 250%.  Looking ahead, Pike Research forecasts that growth in the industry will accelerate rapidly beginning in 2012, with strong growth anticipated over the next six years.  Global fuel cell revenue is expected to surpass $28 billion by 2017.

“This addition of Solid Cell doing its manufacturing of solid oxide fuel cells in Rochester is tremendous news,” said state Sen. Joseph Robach of Rochester, who serves on the Senate Energy Committee. “Not only will this be adding jobs to the local economy, but it is also a product that will help the environment.  This is truly a win-win situation for all.” 

“New York is poised to be a leader in fuel cell development, and this partnership between NYSERDA and Solid Cell is exactly the sort of private-public sector cooperation we need to keep our competitive edge,” said Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle, D-Irondequoit, who has formed a consortium to advise on state policy with respect to hydrogen fuel cell production. “This is very good news for our local economy and our state as a whole.”

Last Updated: 05/14/2013