- Takes Step Toward Commercializing Carbon Capture Technology with ExxonMobil
- Solid Oxide Electrolysis & Fuel Cell Platform to Improve Control and Flexibility of Energy Investments
FuelCell Energy, Inc. announced that it has received an order from ExxonMobil for long-lead fuel cell stack module equipment and engineering support required to implement a potential demonstration of modular point source carbon capture at an ExxonMobil facility and, in a separate announcement, that it is accepting orders for its solid oxide electrolyzer and solid oxide fuel cell platform.
The Fuel Cell Energy modular platform will give more organizations the option to implement a flexible energy strategy in order to:
- Start their energy transition today knowing they can shift to 100% zero-carbon hydrogen in the future.
- Produce clean hydrogen for use or storage from zero-carbon renewable or nuclear power, managing the peaks and valleys of renewables and providing flexibility to nuclear energy production.
- Create energy from any combination of available sources — from renewables, hydrogen, biogas, or natural gas.
- Provide continuous power and reduce grid dependence, co-locating generation and use wherever possible.
Lowering the cost of hydrogen production
The largest factor in the cost of electrolysis-produced hydrogen is the cost of electricity. Consequently, efficiency is one of the most effective ways to lower costs. We believe FuelCell Energy’s solid oxide platform is among the most efficient available electrolysis technologies, says the company. This is expected to translate to a 20 to 30% lower cost of hydrogen compared to lower efficiency and low-temperature electrolysis. We believe our solid oxide platform offers one of the best chances of achieving the $1 USD per kg levelized cost of hydrogen targeted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) by 2050. The platform operates at about 90 percent electrical efficiency (HHV) and is capable of 100 percent electrical efficiency (HHV) when paired with available excess heat from industrial or nuclear facilities. Lower temperature electrolysis technologies currently available operate at significantly lower efficiency and are not capable of utilizing the excess heat to increase efficiency.
FuelCell Energy’s electrolysis technology is under evaluation at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL), which is conducting stack tests to evaluate performance and durability. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development, and also performs research in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science, and the environment.
“The stack has performed well across a broad range of conditions and unexpected events,” said Micah Casteel, INL Senior Research Mechanical Design Engineer. “In addition to validation testing, our goal at INL is to push the boundaries of stack operation to find out how technology responds in non-optimal conditions to drive improvement. This technology has operated well, even in challenging test conditions.”
Richard Boardman, Directorate Fellow at INL, said, “The kind of third-party independent testing we are doing at INL helps technology developers like FuelCell Energy ascertain the performance and durability of their stacks and reduce the risks associated with accelerated commercialization.”
Future-proofing energy strategies and preserving capital investments
As businesses work to build their own roadmaps to net zero, the decisions they make today need to be hydrogen-ready. FuelCell Energy’s solid oxide fuel cell can operate on a variety of fuels, including hydrogen, natural gas, and renewable biogas.
Trinity College, a longtime FuelCell Energy molten carbonate fuel cell customer, is the first organization to purchase FuelCell Energy’s 250 kW solid oxide fuel cell power-generation system. Power and heat produced from the platform will be used at Trinity’s campus in Hartford, Connecticut, to lower energy cost and enhance energy reliability and security.
“Trinity is committed to decreasing energy consumption and generating power locally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and peak load demands on the local utility infrastructure,” said Dan Hitchell, Trinity’s Vice President for Finance and Operations. “The environmental and operational benefits of the FuelCell Energy technology enable us to ensure reliability and resiliency, while realizing our sustainability goals.”
FuelCell Energy’s patented solid oxide technology is optimized for efficiency and flexibility to help customers be hydrogen-ready as the energy transition unfolds. The new platform is the result of more than 20 years of development and testing for applications including hydrogen electrolysis, long-duration hydrogen energy storage, and power generation. The solid oxide platform benefits from the decades of development and commercial production of FuelCell Energy’s carbonate power-generation platform. FuelCell Energy’s compact, lightweight solid oxide stack configuration uses highly efficient electrode-supported cells.
The FuelCell Energy solid oxide electrolyzer is:
- Efficient: Designed to produce hydrogen with the greatest known efficiency (up to 100%), requiring less electricity to produce hydrogen.
- Reliable: Will have the ability to ramp up and down to complement hydrogen demand and renewables, while maintaining high electrical efficiency.
- Modular: Quiet and sleek in its design, enabling co-location with energy sources in almost any location. For example, one module supporting a fueling station is expected to produce 600 kg of hydrogen a day.
- Scalable: The 1 MW unit will fit in the footprint of two standard shipping containers and can be replicated for multi-megawatt installations. Larger scale installations (up to gigawatt scale) will feature consolidated balance of plant equipment to reduce the footprint and cost.
- Flexible: Designed load ramp-up of 10% per minute, going from standby to full load in 10 minutes. This will let customers easily shift power supplies to the fuel cells from renewable resources like wind or solar, or simply adjust to changing consumer demand throughout the day.
“FuelCell Energy has been developing and testing solid oxide technology with support from the U.S. Department of Energy with a singular aim to provide low-cost hydrogen and power when and where it’s needed,” said Tony Leo, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President. “We believe solid oxide presents the best opportunities for hydrogen-production facilities to minimize the overall cost while maximizing efficiency.”
The FuelCell Energy solid oxide fuel cell is:
- Fuel flexible and hydrogen-ready: The ability to run on various fuels, including natural gas, biogas, or 100% hydrogen, provides flexibility in the event of fuel price fluctuations and as hydrogen becomes widely available.
- Highly efficient: The superior fuel efficiency relative to combustion-based power generation can increase ROI and avoid CO2 emissions.
- Ultra-clean: The fuel cell’s chemical reaction is virtually free of NOx, SOx, and particulate matter emissions.
- Easy to site: The clean emissions profile, small footprint, and quiet operation make fuel cells easy to site in urban areas.
- Resilient: The platform can be configured as part of a microgrid to provide energy security when the grid goes down.
For organizations interested in learning more about FuelCell Energy’s family of solid oxide products, visit fuelcellenergy.com/platform/solid-oxide-fuel-cell-platforms.
Expansion of FuelCell Energy’s solid oxide operations
FuelCell Energy’s solid oxide operations are based in Calgary, Canada and Danbury, Connecticut. The Company is expanding its Calgary facility with the addition of new, dedicated manufacturing space along with strategic hires to continue development and expand production. In parallel, the Company is expanding its Connecticut manufacturing activities and evaluating U.S. locations in anticipation of increased production volume.
Demonstration project with ExxonMobil
The commercial demonstration project with ExxonMobil is anticipated to be a full-scale prototype of the modules used in large-scale systems for industrial and commercial point source carbon capture applications. While ExxonMobil has not yet made a final investment decision, this order advances critical-path equipment procurement and module engineering work.
“FuelCell Energy continues to gain confidence in achieving large scale commercialization of FuelCell Energy’s carbonate technology for industrial and commercial point source carbon capture. We believe that this technology will address one of the largest environmental challenges of today, CO2 emissions from industrial and commercial exhaust streams and power generation,” said Jason Few, President and Chief Executive Officer of FuelCell Energy. “We see market demand across various commercial and industrial segments to scale and commercialize our unique carbon capture solution, which captures carbon dioxide from various exhaust streams, while generating additional power and hydrogen. We believe our carbon capture solution is the only solution that can capture carbon while producing electricity and hydrogen at the same time. Traditional amine solutions penalize power output by 20-35% of total power production,” added Few.
The modules will use carbonate fuel cells to efficiently capture and concentrate carbon dioxide streams. Combustion exhaust from an external source, like a flue stream, will be directed to the fuel cell, which electrochemically reacts fuel and air to produce power, while capturing and concentrating carbon dioxide for utilization or permanent storage. The modular design enables the technology to be deployed at a wide range of locations, operate at high efficiency, and advance business goals at hard-to-decarbonize industrial and commercial applications.
About FuelCell Energy
FuelCell Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL): FuelCell Energy is a global leader in sustainable clean energy technologies that address some of the world’s most critical challenges around energy, safety, and global urbanization. It collectively holds more than 450 fuel cell technology patents in the United States and globally. As a leading global manufacturer of proprietary fuel cell technology platforms, FuelCell Energy is uniquely positioned to serve customers worldwide with sustainable products and solutions for businesses, utilities, governments, and municipalities. The company’s solutions are designed to enable a world empowered by clean energy, enhancing the quality of life for people around the globe. For more information, visit www.fuelcellenergy.com.
About Idaho National Laboratory
Battelle Energy Alliance manages INL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. INL is the nation’s [leading] center for nuclear energy research and development, and also performs research in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science, and the environment. For more information, visit www.inl.gov.