DoD Helps Fund Research on Carbonate Hydrogen Generating System

Development of a high-efficiency fuel cell energy system that will generate both electricity and pure hydrogen, and is said to be ideal for vehicle refueling stations and industrial applications requiring hydrogen, has been announced by FuelCell Energy. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded FuelCell Energy $1.36 million to advance this Electrochemical Hydrogen Separator (EHS) project for use with the company’s Direct FuelCell(R) (DFC(R)) power plants.

Unlike other means of separating hydrogen, which rely on compression, FuelCell Energy’s proprietary EHS technology has no moving parts. As a result, it is anticipated to be more reliable and efficient than conventional methods. EHS is expected to save up to one-half of the energy required when compared to conventional compression based-methods of hydrogen separation. A subscale prototype EHS unit developed by FuelCell Energy is currently operating at the University of Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center. This test was made possible through a $600,000 grant provided by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund under its operational demonstration program. The subscale EHS system currently produces 1200 liters per hour of pure hydrogen. With the DoD award, the unit will be scaled up by a factor of 25 and will operate in conjunction with a sub-megawatt DFC power plant in Danbury for testing. The cost-efficient system will separate pure hydrogen from a gas mixture that can be sold as fuel for hydrogen vehicles or industrial uses. “This contract award combines our expertise in ultra-clean and high efficiency power generation from our DFC products with the strength of our electrochemical separation technology,” said Christopher R. Bentley, Executive Vice President, Government Research and Development Operations for FuelCell Energy. “This product has the potential to support the market demand for fuel cell automobiles as well as onsite hydrogen supply for industrial applications.”
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