The University of Akron will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of building a 250 kilowatt (kW) direct-coal fuel cell (DCFC) pilot plant. Researchers at the University of Akron (UA) have demonstrated the technical feasibility of a laboratory coal fuel cell that can economically convert high sulfur coal into electricity with near-zero negative environmental impact. Scaling up this coal fuel cell technology requires two key elements: developing the manufacturing technology for the components of the coal-based fuel cell; and long-term testing of a kW-scale fuel cell pilot plant. This novel coal fuel cell technology is expected to be a highly efficient, super clean, multi-use electric generation technology which promises to provide low cost electricity by expanding the utilization of U.S. coal supplies and relieving our dependence on foreign oil. A DCFC stack consists of multiple fuel cells which are interconnected electrically. The performance of the stack will be simulated on the basis of preliminary design and the single cell performance. The simulations and test data will be used to further refine the design.
This project is expected to develop a scalable coal fuel cell manufacturing process through testing and simulation, demonstrating the feasibility of building a large scale coal fuel cell power plant. The success of this project will further attract industrial investment for the commercialization of this technology for applications ranging from small scale battery replacement to megawatt-scale power generation.
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