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DOE Seeks Information on Reversible Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Systems
Request for Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) has released a Request for Information (RFI) that seeks input on developing a high hydrogen production rate, low-cost, efficient reversible solid oxide fuel cell (R-SOFC) that has long-term stability and can operate on and/or produce hydrogen.

DOE is soliciting feedback from industry members, investors, project developers, nongovernmental organizations, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on technologies and strategies that companies are deploying, or could deploy, for R-SOFCs with hydrogen production.

This RFI supports FECM’s R-SOFC Program within the Hydrogen with Carbon Management Program. It also supports DOE’s Hydrogen Shot goals.

R-SOFC technology is expanding globally and finding new market opportunities in a variety of applications. The versatility and applicability of solid oxide technology is promising because solid oxide fuel cells are developed as a source of efficient, low-cost electricity from hydrogen or natural gas for distributed power generation and because solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs) can produce hydrogen as reversible cells. The technology has many applications in data centers, unmanned aerial vehicles, battery chargers, electric vehicle chargers, distributed generation, microgrids, hydrogen production, hydrogen energy storage, telecom backup markets, telecommunications, banking, combined heat and power, absorption chillers, chemicals and fuels production, energy conversion and storage for renewable/surplus energy, transportation, sensors, and others.

R-SOFC operating temperatures are lower than combustion-based processes and preclude nitrogen oxide formation in addition to near-zero emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), criteria pollutants or particulates. Furthermore, R-SOFC power systems require approximately one-third the amount of water relative to conventional combustion-based power systems. FECM’s R-SOFC program includes the testing of SOFCs with natural gas and/or hydrogen in distributed applications, including data centers. Additionally, several projects in the portfolio include various aspects of high-temperature SOECs. The development of efficient systems for hydrogen production is technologically feasible and attractive, especially when supplementary heat is provided from solar or other waste heat sources such as nuclear power plants.

R-SOFC power systems can be configured to carbon-capture designs that are pipeline ready, representing a major research focus for FECM. The technology also has applications in national defense, space programs, and world health initiatives due to its suitability for in-situ resource utilization and oxygen production capability. Additionally, R-SOFC technologies utilize non-noble and non-strategic material resources that are abundant in the United States. The diversity of applications, paired with fuel flexibility, hybridization with renewable resources, and hydrogen production capabilities of R-SOFC systems, offer competitive and security advantages in the global energy environment.

This RFI is not a funding opportunity announcement. DOE is not accepting applications to this RFI, nor will DOE reimburse any costs in preparing a response.

To review the RFI, please click here. Responses must be submitted electronically to RSOFC-RFI@NETL.DOE.GOV with the subject line “DE-FOA-0003367 RFI” and received no later than June 24, 2024.

FECM minimizes environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across the U.S economy. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM websitesign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the National Energy Technology Laboratory website.