Research Project Summary Information
Ceramic Insulated Housing for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell APUs(15768)
The last five years have seen a new focus on Alternative Fuels and Renewable Energy systems by both federal and State funding agencies for all energy markets. The transportation market is particularly sensitive to the cost of oil as evidenced by the most recent increases in barrel costs being transmitted to the cost of a gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel. A significant near-term goal is to provide technologies that will both increase the conversion efficiency and reduce the pollution from fuels used today. One major user in the transportation field is diesel powered tractor trailer trucks. The Department of Energy (DOE) is funding, through the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) program, the development of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) based auxiliary power units (APUs).
The fuel cell provider is a DOE SECA- funded program member with a significant program focused on the development of a 3-5 kilowatt SOFC-based APU. Great success has been achieved to date in this program and it is noted for an elegant, advanced compact design for the transportation sector, particularly as an APU for diesel powered tractor trailers. The program, however, is not without its development issues. The compactness of the design has driven the need for an insulation package that exceeds the state-of-art. Off-the-shelf insulation technology is not designed to meet the requirements of the APU application.
The project will first identify a ceramic fiber with improved thermal conductivity that will meet the cost goals and provide a resilient body to the coating and sintering process. Then, by leveraging its existing technology that has eliminated dusting and is impervious to moisture, the Contractor will develop an improved coating for vibration resistance with lower manufacturing costs.
SOFC systems are expected to provide new flexibility to energy users and significant positive economic and energy impacts when applied to APUs for the transportation sector. APU’s modularity and modest size for five kilowatts may enable the system to be easily implemented in replacing diesel based generators generating both electricity and usable heat near-efficiencies exceeding 70%. The culmination of the identified benefits will result in significant fuel cost savings and reduced reliance on the importation of oil.
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Buffalo, NY 14207
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R&D -Transport & Power Systems