18 August 2005 – The US Department of Energy (DOE) has charged GE Energy with the task of developing a hybrid fuel cell system that will achieve greater than 50 per cent efficiency from coal.
Under a ten-year agreement, valued at $83m, GE Energy will design and demonstrate an integrated gasification fuel cell system that uses a hybrid solid oxide fuel cell based power system that operates on coal, and a gas turbine to generate power.
The key objective of the three-phase project is to achieve greater than 50 per cent total system efficiency from coal. A typical conventional pulverized coal fired power plant operates at about 35 per cent efficiency.
Tim Rehg, general manager of GE Energy’s Hybrid Power Generation Systems, said: “This development programme is a great opportunity for GE and DOE to advance fuel cell technology toward commercialization through improvements in performance, cost and power output.”
The first phase of the project will begin this October and will continue for three years. It will focus on system design and cost analysis. Phase two will further the design, while phase three, beginning in the fifth year of the programme, will culminate in the demonstration of the system at an integrated gasification combined cycle power plant.